According to a new review, patients with type 2 diabetes should be given exercise ‘prescriptions’ that specify the type, duration, intensity and frequency of workouts, specific to the individuals needs.
Although exercise improves the blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, most people with diabetes do not engage in regular exercise, the author writes.
“Exercise and physical activity can help to control type 2 diabetes,” said lead author Dr. Romeu Mendes of the Public Health Unit, ACES Douro I—Marao e Douro Norte in Vila Real, Portugal.
There are many successful case-studies of patients who reversed metabolic dysfunction only with lifestyle strategies (exercise plus diet),” but the benefits disappear when healthy diet and regular exercise stop, he said.
“Diabetes is a chronic disease and must be managed for life,” Mendes said. “Regular exercise and a healthy nutritional pattern are the basis of the treatment.”
The researchers reviewed published recommendations or guidelines for exercise prescriptions for people with type 2 diabetes issued by international scientific organisations in the field of diabetology, endocrinology, cardiology, public health and sports medicine. They included 11 publications from institutions such as European Association for the Study of Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, Francophone Diabetes Society and Swedish National Institute of Health.
The guidelines state that people with type 2 diabetes should have at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise in a week, spread out across 3 days, it is also recommended that resistance training is done at least twice a week.
Aerobic exercise can include speed walking, running, cycling, swimming or other activities, whilst resistance training should target large muscle groups with machines or free weights. Some institutions also recommends some sort of flexibility training.