It's national Diabetes Week

This week is National Diabetes Week (July 8-14) and with more than 1 in 20 Australians having diabetes, it’s been labelled as the fastest growing chronic condition in the nation.

This National Diabetes Week, Exercise and Sports Science Australia wants to remind all Australians of the benefits of exercising right for their health, and how physical activity can help manage, and even prevent, chronic conditions such as diabetes.

ESSA chief executive officer Anita Hobson-Powell said with more than 280 Australians developing diabetes every day – that’s one person every five minutes – physical inactivity was responsible for almost 20% of the disease’s burden.

Everybody benefits from regular exercise but for people with diabetes mellitus (type 1 or type 2) exercise can play a vital role in the management of their condition. 

Accredited Exercise Physiologist Beth Sheehan said while exercise cannot reverse the damage to the cells in the pancreas that leads to the decreased production of insulin.

“However, exercise can improve the way the muscles respond to insulin, which, in turn, helps regulate the blood glucose level for some hours after the exercise,” she said.  Diabetes also dramatically increases the risk of being affected by other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, and eye damage, to name a few. However, exercise can help decrease your risk of developing these conditions and manage diabetes related complications.

Things to remember when exercising with diabetes:

 To avoid potential problems, blood glucose levels need to be checked before, during and after exercise.

 Avoid injecting insulin into exercising limbs.

 To prevent foot ulcers, supportive shoes and well-fitting socks need to be worn and regular foot checks undertaken.

It’s important to speak with your GP prior to undertaking any exercise, and by working with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, they can ensure you’re exercising right for your diabetes condition and deliver an expertly prescribed exercise program tailored to your individual requirements and goals.