Exercise & Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

By: Jay Creeks, Exercise Physiologist with Physioflex

Exercise & Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a well-documented condition that affects approximately 2.4 million Australians every day. (1)

While there are a variety of ways to manage T2DM, there is one management option that is hiding in plain sight. It is important to be aware of this because it is something that is very simple to complete daily and can have amazing health benefits.

So what is this management option?  The answer to the question is exercise!

You have probably heard of the importance of exercise and the related health benefits associated with completing it. However, it is not as widely known the important roles that exercise can play with helping manage T2DM.

Many people who suffer from T2DM are may take a form of insulin to regulate their Blood Sugar Levels (Glucose). Amazingly, exercise, like insulin, can also help with aiding with the regulation of glucose. A simple way of explaining this relates to muscular contraction. When muscles contract, there is a cellular reaction which enables a protein in the body to be more readily available. This protein is responsible for the regulation of the glucose in the blood (2). So when you’re exercising, this protein actually allows your muscles to use the glucose in the blood to fuel them, without the use of insulin to make this happen.

In addition, exercising improves insulin sensitivity (if you are taking insulin), blood pressure, and it can also improve your overall body composition (2). And there are many other documented health benefits associated with regular exercise – too many to name.

If you think exercise sounds like a great way to help manage your diabetes, have a chat to your doctor about it. They may be able to create a care plan to utilise a multidisciplinary team to help with the management of your T2DM.    There are Medicare subsidised programs that allow you to see an Allied Health Professional called an Exercise Physiologist (EP) who are part of a care team. An EP can assist with prescribing and completing regular exercise sessions that are aligned with the management of T2DM. An EP is the only qualified health professional able to deliver and prescribe exercise sessions.

Exercise is very important to your daily routine, that can be utilised for the management of T2DM.


  1. Australia D. Diabetes in Australia Australia 2015 [cited 2018].
  2. MacLean PS, Zheng D, Dohm GL. Muscle glucose transporter (GLUT 4) gene expression during exercise. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2000;28(4):148-52.


Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Medical Centre, or any other provider within the clinic.

More information on Jay Creeks

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