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Type 2 Diabetes - how do I manage it?

By Chloe Oliver

What is Type 2 Diabetes ?

Did you know that Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, which is a condition affecting your blood glucose?. This is commonly known as your blood sugar, which in type 2 diabetes is typically too high.

The role of blood glucose in the body is to fuel your energy levels and it depends on what we choose to eat. Once in the body, insulin, which is an important hormone produced by our pancreas, transports the glucose into our cells ready to be used for energy.

If you have too much glucose in your bloodstream, you may be at a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease or vision problems.

Figures

Over 1 million Australians in 2017-2018 were living with Type 2 Diabetes-that’s a whopping 5% of the population. Could this be your fate in 2021? It doesn't have to be. Treatment for diabetes can be as simple as committing to some lifestyle changes.

Research has shown that regular exercise, dietary and lifestyle modification means that type 2 diabetes can be managed well, even prevented.

What makes me more susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes?

Are you overweight, aged over 45yrs old, inactive or have a family history of diabetes ?

If this is you, you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A trip to your local GP may confirm this.

Then what ? Well exercise is one key factor that can be adapted into your lifestyle to help you manage your diabetes. Qualified health professionals can provide evidence based exercise programs tailored to suit your lifestyle and type 2 diabetes.

What should I look out for that might suggest signs of Type 2 Diabetes ?

Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include: constant hunger, lack of energy, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst or frequent urination.

If you have more than 2 of the above symptoms you really should check in with your local GP who can help determine if you may have type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing it.

With regular exercise and lifestyle changes such as diet, your type 2 diabetes can be managed. If you are in the ‘at risk’ category, type 2 diabetes can be prevented with the right changes and advice from qualified health professionals.

Here at In-Balance our Exercise Physiologist can provide tailored exercise programs to help you achieve these important changes. We also love to work with colleagues in dietetics to coordinate a good plan to combat Type 2 diabetes.

How do I know what type of exercise I should be doing for my Type 2 Diabetes?

Aerobic exercise should be completed on at least 3 days per week. Aiming to reach 150 minutes of moderate intensity of exercise per week. This may sound daunting, however this could be broken down into 30minutes 5 days throughout the week.

Aerobic activities are classed as an aerobic activity that causes a sustained increase in your heart rate. This may be: brisk walking, jogging, tennis, swimming or riding a bike.

But how do you know if you are working at a ‘moderate’ intensity ?

Heart Rate (bpm) = if you have a fitness tracker to monitor your heart rate, moderate intensity exercise is defined as working at 70-80 % of your maximum heart rate. Where you maximum heart rate is generally 220bpm - your age.

What if I don't have a heart rate monitor ?

RPE = Rating of perceived exertion scale can be used to gauge how hard you are working. As seen in the below table using a RPE scale with a rating from 0-10, moderate intensity exercise is described to be a 4-6/10 effort. Which means you should be able to still hold a short conversation.

Strength or resistance exercises are equally important and should be completed x2 days per week on non-consecutive days. You should look to include 5-10 exercises which target the major muscle groups of the body (lower body, upper body and core).

For example you may have a go at these lower body exercises:

  1. Step Ups

2. Sit to stand

3. Calf raises

Or you could try these upper body exercises:

1.Wall push up
 

2. Tricep dips

3. Plank against the wall

We understand that there is a lot of information out there about the do’s and do nots of exercise. If you are feeling overwhelmed, confused or just not sure where to start, here at In-Balance our Exercise Physiologist can assist you in this journey, by providing you with tailored exercise programs to assist in combating your Type 2 diabetes.

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