Exercise has been shown to delay or possibly prevent progression of glucose intolerance to the diagnosis of diabetes. Exercise also has benefits for those who are already diagnosed with diabetes. A small number of well designed studies have also shown that an activity program of walking or cycling, carried out three times a week for 30-40 minutes, is able to produce small but significant improvements in glycemic control in diabetics.
There may also be a benefit in reducing the amount of time spent in sedentary persuits such as watching television. To provide maximum benefits for all areas of the body, a range of specific strengthening and stretching exercises will also be needed. This is particularly important for older people.
- Involve large muscle groups
- Impose more than a customary load
- Require a minimum total of 700 kcal/week
- Be performed regularly and if possible daily
For further maximum health benefits, activities should:
- Include some periods of vigorous activity
- Include a variety of activities
- Exercise most of the body’s muscles, including trunk and upper body
- Expend up to 2000 kcals/week
- Be maintained throughout life