Exercise for people living with Diabetes


Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by deficiency of insulin leading to hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels). Insulin insufficiency reduces the body’s ability to use glucose as fuel and transport to muscles, therefore it accumulates in blood. Research has shown that even light to moderate resistance training can have a large impact upon blood glucose control for people living with Type 2 diabetes. It promotes uptake of the glucose from the blood to be utilised by exercising muscles, having a similar physiological effect on the body as insulin. These benefits not only last for the duration of exercise, but for several hours afterwards. Therefore, regular physical activity is encouraged to help people living with Type 2 diabetes reduce their blood glucose levels with less reliance upon medication. Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus generally includes a combination of regular exercise and healthy eating.

So what are some of the benefits?

  • Prevention of diabetes related complications (retinopathy, neuropathy, fatty liver, heart/blood vessel)
  • Improved cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Increased strength
  • Improved oxygen delivery
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in blood glucose
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Weight loss
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Increase muscle hypertrophy and capilerisation to improve circulation (as people living with diabetes may tend to have poor blood flow).
  • Whilst exercise cannot rectify Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus cell damage, it can:
  • Affect the response of muscles to insulin and blood glucose level post exercise
  • Affect how glucose is processed back to muscles irrespective of insulin levels and
  • Deliver a lower dose response of insulin needed by improving the body’s response to insulin.

People living with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus with minimal diabetic complications, can take on most types of physical activity and exercise (with medical clearance).

How to get started:

  • See your GP and get a clearance to exercise
  • Ask your GP about the best time of the day for you to exercise and any other medical considerations specific to you that you will need to pass on to your exercise professional
  • Ask your GP about Medicare’s Chronic Disease Management Plan program – this can assist you with meeting some of the costs associated with getting an exercise program underway
  • Get some supportive shoes and well-fitting socks to prevent foot ulcers:  Regular foot checks are also recommended
  • Consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to expertly prescribe a program for you specifically, that will address your personal health needs.

Our Accredited Exercise Physiologists design tailored, individual exercise intervention programs to help those living with diabetes increase their physical activity levels and promote adherence to exercise in a supportive environment. The aim is to provide a structured and safe atmosphere for the completion of resistance and aerobic exercise to keep people living with diabetes healthy.

To make an appointment with one of our Exercise Physiology team to discuss our diabetes and exercise programs and if they are right for you, feel free to book online, email reception@aspirefitnessrehab.com.au or call 07 3310 4969