In the midst of the latest gloomy projections on the rapidly expanding worldwide rates of diabetes mellitus, the latest research on physical activity — reported in a newly-released joint position statement by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association on exercise and Type 2 diabetes — unequivocally shows that exercise plays a major role in the prevention and control of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, gestational diabetes mellitus, Type 2 diabetes, and diabetes-related health complications.
To date, physical activity remains an under-prescribed and underutilized treatment for both diabetes management and its prevention. This joint position statement reiterates that both aerobic and resistance training improve insulin action, at least acutely, and can assist with management of blood glucose levels, lipids, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk, mortality, and quality of life. It also states that exercise must be undertaken regularly to have continued benefits and likely include regular training of varying types.
Most people with Type 2 diabetes can perform exercise safely, as long as certain precautions are taken, which are outlined by both organizations based on the latest clinical studies. In summary, the inclusion of an exercise program or other means of increasing overall physical activity is critical for optimal health in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and is part of critical lifestyle changes that must be implemented worldwide to stop the projected explosion in diabetes cases in the next few decades.