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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cherry

Type 2 Diabetes & How Exercise Physiology can Help

Exercise Physiotherapist helping a woman in exercising

So you or your loved one's may have just been told you have T2DM. This can be a confronting and scary time. Did you know there are many factors you have control over to manage your condition?

Our Exercise Physiologists at MOVE are passionate about educating and empowering people to make changes in their health and lifestyle. When we meet you we will complete a thorough assessment of your strength, and fitness to tailor a program that is specific to your body and your goals.

But before all of that, we know knowledge is power :

So What is T2DM?

Type 02 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a condition where your blood sugar (glucose) levels become too high. This happens because your body doesn't use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy.

Why Does it Occur?

It's often linked to lifestyle factors including:


  • Being overweight - especially around the abdomen.

  • Physical Inactivity: Lack of regular exercise contributes to insulin resistance.

  • Poor Diet: High intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats can lead to obesity and insulin resistance.

  • High-stress levels


  • Age and Ethnicity: Risk increases with age, and certain ethnic groups are more susceptible.

  • Genetic Factors: Family history can increase the likelihood of developing T2DM.

  • Gestational Diabetes: Women who had diabetes during pregnancy face an increased risk.

  • Hormonal Changes: Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may elevate risk.

  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain toxins may contribute.

  • Other Medical Conditions can influence the development of diabetes.


Why is it Important to Manage Glucose Levels?

When blood glucose levels are chronically elevated, there is an increased risk of:

  • Kidney disease and possible kidney failure

  • Problems with vision, and possible blindness

  • Changes in pain sensation (neuropathy)

  • Loss of muscle control and balance

  • Heart disease and stroke.

How Can Exercise Help?

Studies show that Exercise can:

  • Help prevent or delay T2DM in those at risk of developing T2DM

  • Improve control of blood glucose - better blood glucose management often means people can reduce their T2DM medications

  • Decrease the proportion of body fat

  • Decrease the risk of heart disease increase heart and lung fitness in people with T2DM

As people with diabetes age, the benefit of maintaining muscle mass through exercise is also likely to improve physical function and independence.

What Type of Exercise is Best for the Management of T2DM?

  1. Aerobic Exercise - For heart and lung fitness - it is recommended at least 3 days a week with no more than two consecutive days without exercising

2. Resistance Training-

For bone and muscle strength it is recommended 2 or more times per week (2–4 sets of 8–10 repetitions).

If you would like to learn more about strength and resistance training click here. Do you want to know how your fitness measures up to others your age -> click here?

Resistance Training

Exercise Physiologists can help you learn how to optimize your lifestyle, including diet and exercise choices, to control blood glucose levels, prevent complications, and improve overall well-being. At MOVE we have a range of structured classes that include both aerobic and strength-based activities so you can be assured you are completing targeted exercises for your body and condition.

Do you have a loved one who is keen to start exercising but may lack motivation or know-how, Maddie our accredited exercise physiologist is passionate about empowering people to MOVE and enjoy movement. We would recommend you book an initial Exercise Physiology appointment and the team will help guide you or your family member to a tailored option to meet your needs.

Did you know medicare offers rebates for you to exercise if you are a diabetic? Talk to your GP or the team today to see how you can get subsidized fees. We have chronic disease exercise sessions on a Monday and Thursday at 10.00am - get in touch and discover the power of exercise in managing diabetes

Are you ready to get MOVING? Book now with us!


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Fact Sheet: general information and national estimates of diabetes in the United States, 2007. Atlanta, GA: Department of Health and Human

Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2008. Available from: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Church TS, Blair SN, Cocreham S, Johannsen N, Johnson W, Kramer K, Mikus CR, Myers V, Nauta M, Rodarte RQ, Sparks L, Thompson A, and Earnest CP. Effects of aerobic and resistance training on

hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Jama. 2010;304(20):2253-62.

3. Dunstan DW, Zimmet PZ, Welborn TA, De Courten MP, Cameron AJ, Sicree RA, Dwyer T, Colagiuri S, Jolley D, Knuiman M, Atkins R, and Shaw JE. The rising prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose

tolerance: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Diabetes Care. 2002;25(5):829-34.

4. Hordern MD, Dunstan DW, Prins JB, Baker MK, Singh MA, and Coombes JS. Exercise prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes: A position statement from exercise and sport science

Australia. J Sci Med Sport. 2011.

5. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachin JM, Walker EA, and Nathan DM. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med.


6. Magliano DJ, Barr EL, Zimmet PZ, Cameron AJ, Dunstan DW, Colagiuri S, Jolley D, Owen N, Phillips P, Tapp RJ, Welborn TA, and Shaw JE. Glucose indices, health behaviors, and incidence of diabetes in

Australia: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(2):267-72.

7. Marwick TH, Hordern MD, Miller T, Chyun DA, Bertoni AG, Blumenthal RS, Philippides G, and Rocchini A. Exercise training for type 2 diabetes mellitus: impact on cardiovascular risk: a scientific statement from

the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;119(25):3244-62.

8. Park SW, Goodpaster BH, Lee JS, Kuller LH, Boudreau R, de Rekeneire N, Harris TB, Kritchevsky S, Tylavsky FA, Nevitt M, Cho YW, and Newman AB. Excessive Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Older Adults with

Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2009.


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