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Type 2 diabetes and exercise

Exercise is a “smart drug” for type 2 diabetes. Physical exercise also has many other health benefits as well as a positive effect on mood and sleep.

In addition to the overall health benefits of exercise, in terms of diabetes, its goals include reducing your blood sugar, losing weight, weight control as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

If you are in insulin therapy and you exercise, you should talk to your nurse about potentially adjusting the dose. Usually, there are no exercise-related restrictions with regard to other pharmaceutical products that lower blood sugar.

Endurance training increases and strength training increase insulin sensitivity and lower your blood sugar, especially after meals. An easy way to see the effect of exercise is to check your blood sugar before and after meals on days when you do not exercise compared to days when you do.

Exercise helps keep your weight under control. Even if increasing exercise does not lead to losing weight, it still has a positive effect on your body. Your muscle mass will increase, while the amount of body fat decreases. The change improves insulin sensitivity and sugar metabolism.

Exercise lowers your overall cholesterol and increases the “good” or HDL cholesterol. Exercise makes the heart pump harder and reduces blood pressure and resting heart rate, reducing the heart’s workload. According to research, regular exercise has the best health benefits and it reduces the risk of heart problems.

Moderate exercise of appropriate intensity (such as brisk walking or light jogging) strengthens your bones as well as the support tissues of joints. At the same time, it reduces the risk of musculoskeletal issues and osteoarthritis.

Updated 30.9.2023