5 concrete benefits of physical activity in the management of diabetes according to a study

5 concrete benefits of physical activity in the management of diabetes according to a study

No mystery, physical activity is good for everyone. But in the event of diabetes, keeping your body moving could alleviate a certain number of inconveniences. Here are 5 concrete benefits if you are concerned.

Did you know ? When you are affected by type 2 diabetes, getting back into motion is the first treatment for this chronic disease with a balanced diet. An effective practice but not always easy to implement.

One in three people with diabetes do not play sports

Thus according to a study by Roche Diabetes Care Europe conducted by OpinionWay, 67% of type 2 diabetic patients try to be more active or intensify their physical activity following diagnosis:

  • 44% try to be more active (walking, gardening, etc.);
  • 16% started to regularly practice physical activity (cycling, swimming, etc.);
  • 7% intensified it.

But still according to this study, one in 3 people with diabetes never or rarely practices physical activity, simply because getting started or getting back into it seems complicated to them. Thus, 42% of type 2 diabetic patients report “lacking courage” in practicing regular physical activity and 28% do not feel capable of doing so.

5 concrete benefits of physical activity on diabetes management

However, resuming physical activity (and not necessarily intense sport) shows obvious benefits in the management of the disease which it would be a shame to deprive oneself of. Roche Diabetes Care Europe lists 5 main ones:

  • Blood sugar control: Regular exercise helps lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and promoting glucose use by muscles. This contributes to better management of blood sugar, a key element in controlling diabetes;
  • Prevention of complications: physical activity helps reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications such as kidney problems, nerve damage, etc.;
  • Reduction of cardiovascular diseases: brisk walking, swimming or even cycling are activities that are beneficial for the heart and blood vessels. They help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is more common in people with diabetes.
  • Weight management : practicing regular physical activity is a central element of weight management in people with diabetes. It promotes weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, which has a significant impact on disease control.
  • Improved general well-being: Regular exercise helps reduce stress, improve sleep and support mental well-being. It also helps increase flexibility, endurance and muscle strength, thus contributing to a better quality of life for people with diabetes.

Getting back into sport is not as hard as you think

Perhaps it is also useful to remember that physical activity does not mean returning to sport with intensity after being sedentary. The WHO defines physical activity as “tany bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles which requires the expenditure of energy. Physical activity refers to all the movements that we perform, particularly in the context of leisure, at the workplace or to move from one place to another. In this context, a regular walk, at your own pace, can also be included in this framework.

“The beliefs around physical activity are that ‘you have to be in pain’, over a long period of time, or at high intensity. However, physical activity is relevant as soon as you start moving: insert exercise routines walk during the day and limit prolonged sitting positions (break a sedentary lifestyle). We must also take an interest in sources of motivation. From experience, motivations solely focused on health are not powerful enough: for lasting change, it is necessary a change that brings immediate benefits, nothing better than pleasure” report Aurélien Descatoire, doctor in Sports Sciences, Diabetology-Nutrition Service CH of Roubaix in conclusion of the cited study.

No need to see too far. Getting started is already a big step. And for those who are more motivated, know this: more than 68 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 74%.