Exercise Helps Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

A man running.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Brace yourself because this is going to come as a shock: exercise is good for you. The more of it, the better.

No, but seriously, exercise is good for preventing type 2 diabetes, which has just about hit epidemic levels globally. Current estimates figure that there will be as many as 600 million cases of the disease by 2035.

For the record, type 2 is the kind that anyone can develop, and isn’t the kind you inherit (that’s type 1). The epidemic is connected to widespread obesity, both of which are linked to diet and exercise.

A recent study examined 23 studies from around the world, including over 1 million participants, and found that some pretty simple steps can help prevent the disease. For example, 150 minutes (2.5 hours a week) of “moderate to vigorous” exercise per week can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 26%. “Moderate to vigorous exercise” can include a brisk walk, gentle cycling, or a variety of low impact sports.

In other words, you don’t have to become a CrossFit guru to be healthy; just go for a walk each day. Of course, if you do more exercise, that’s even better, but that’s up to you.

For the record though, as many as a third of British adults (according to a 2012 survey) weren’t even getting their 150 minutes a week. It’s kind of sad considering thirty minutes a day is not that much to commit to.

If it helps, get yourself a workout partner. They can help you to stay motivated. Another trick you can use is to reward yourself at the end of each week for meeting your exercise goals. Incentive yourself by allowing yourself to purchase an item you always wanted if you meet your goal. You’ll feel great both physically and mentally knowing that you earned it.

So do a little exercise, you won’t regret it.

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2 Responses to Exercise Helps Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

  1. kkeevins says:

    I was diagnosed with T2D about 20 years ago. In addition to monitoring the foods I eat, as well as my blood sugar, I WALKED, and Walked, and walked. I attempted to be a “gym rat” — that lasted less than two weeks. No way is that for me. But walking — I can do that. I truly believe that my “exercise of choice” has been what’s kept insulin out of my life. At one point, I had to go on Metformin, but I’m presently working hard to get off it. WALKING is a huge part of that regimen. I totally agree with you that exercise is an important part of living a healthy life.
    However, I must tell you that, my brother was an insulin-dependent (Type 2) diabetic, my nephew was diagnosed last year, and my sister and a niece are pre-diabetic. Genetics? I think there must be a component — OR — a predisposition to diabetes. There’s certainly something there!
    Good luck to you. Keep moving — it works!

    –Kathy from:

    • atgnews says:

      Hi, Kathy!

      I’m glad to hear that walking helped you! I’m quite the walker myself.

      Like most diseases, there is certainly a genetic component. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do everything in our power to keep our bodies healthy and strong (e.g. proper nutrition and exercise).

      In any case, I wish you and your family the very best! My mother also has type 2 diabetes, so I know how difficult it is.

      – Alyson

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