Diabetics need to find practical ways to get more exercise

Second only to eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise is one of the most important things a person with type 2 diabetes can do to support their health. It helps control blood sugar levels and contributes to weight loss, which may make the body more sensitive to the effects of insulin.

Despite these facts, many people with type 2 diabetes do not get enough exercise. It can be very difficult to convince an individual that they need to be more physically active. One expert says the key to getting more people to lead active lives is to make exercise more fun.

Judith Regenstreiner, the director of the Center for Women’s Health at the University of Colorado, Denver told Family Practice News that the majority of diabetics who begin an exercise program will not stick with it simply because the activity is not something they enjoy. This indicates that most workout routines are not practical for many people.

“If you can’t make it fun for them, they’re not going to persist with it. Exercising with a group, with your family, your children or grandchildren - we have to keep working on this behavioral piece," she told the news source.

However, she added that there is progress being made to find more practical ways to help type 2 diabetics get more exercise. Over the course of the past few decades the dominant school of thought said that exercise needed to be vigorous and difficult for a person to get any benefit from it.

Now medical professionals are finding out that this isn’t necessarily true. A person can do simple activities like walking around the block or spending some time in their garden to lose a modest amount of weight. This may have a significant benefit for diabetics.

To be sure, regular exercise is critical to disease management. A 2002 study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that physical activity leads to improvements in insulin sensitivity. However, this activity does not need to be as vigorous as once thought.