Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

What Is The Best Exercise Type For Diabetes?

January 19, 2022

Diabetes, commonly broken down into type I and type II based on the body’s ability to properly utilize insulin, affects over 400 million people worldwide. In our country, this chronic disease continues to become more prevalent with an estimated 10% of Americans being diagnosed with one of the two types of diabetes. Exercise remains one of the key interventions for this condition within a multimodal medical treatment plan including physician management. Prior researchers have shown an immediate improvement in both blood sugar levels and insulin function following a bout of exercise with further improvements noted with a long term, consistent exercise program including both aerobic and strength training exercises. The benefits of exercise in this patient population are well studied and a recent consensus statement was released by experts in the field.

The American College of Sports Medicine recently released their findings on this topic and importantly provided guidance on the appropriate exercise prescription for patients suffering from diabetes (Kanaley et al. Med Sci Sp Ex. 2022). They stated evidence documenting

  • A significant reduction in blood glucose management with regular aerobic exercise

  • Improved insulin performance with high intensity strength training exercise

  • Exercising > 45 minutes, regardless of intensity, provides the most consistent benefits

  • Shorter, more frequent bouts of activity are also helpful on blood glucose levels

  • Weight loss of > 5% of weight, through diet and exercise, is necessary for blood work benefits

  • Authors recommend diabetics meet at least the national guidelines for exercise including at least 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day.

Click Here to learn which exercises are best for you from the experts at MEND