Type 2 Diabetes: How Activity can Reduce Your Risks

Around 90 percent of the 3.7 million people living with diabetes in the UK have Type 2 diabetes, which is a common condition that means the body cannot produce the required levels of insulin to deal with the amount of glucose in the blood stream.

Insulin is vitally important to each and every one of us, allowing glucose in our blood (which we have consumed through food and drink) into our cells, giving us energy. Those with Type 2 diabetes cannot produce the correct levels of insulin required, resulting in high blood glucose levels.

Type 2 Diabetes is extremely difficult to diagnose and people can go a decade or more without a diagnosis. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include feeling very tired, very frequently; extreme thirst, recurrent and stubborn infections, as well as cuts and grazes healing more slowly than is usual. Some sufferers don’t even notice their symptoms, or get none whatsoever.

The condition can also result in some more severe symptoms and complications, which can lead to serious issues with the eyes, feet and even the heart.

Although more widely associated with adults aged 40 and above, type 2 diabetes can can develop at any age. Diagnoses are becoming more well-known amongst children and young adults and this is often linked with there being a history of Type 2 diabetes in their family, as well as being inactive or overweight

Three key ways to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes:

Get More Active

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is a big risk factor to being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Being active goes hand in hand with managing your weight and helping to reduce your waist size, it also lowers your blood pressure and aids with your mental well being and sleep.

Adults should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, this can be broken down into 30 minutes of activity, 5 days a week. You could try shorter bursts of more vigorous activity if you’re used to exercising.

Moderate intensity fitness can be described as exercise that increases your heart rate and speeds up your breathing, but you are still able to hold a conversation, such as brisk walking, a light jog or a leisurely swim.

A vigorous intensity workout is defined as activity that leaves you out of breath and where you can’t hold a conversation. Strength exercises are also recommended on two days a week.

Activities That Are Great For Moderate Intensity Activity Are:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Leisurely jogging
  • Walking sports e.g. walking football, walking netball
  • Light cardio and strength in the gym

Activities That Are Useful For Vigorous Intensity Exercise Are:

  • High intensity cardio workout
  • Spin class
  • Aerobics class
  • Running or jogging
  • Football, Basketball, Tennis (singles)
  • Strength exercises

Tips To Reduce Sedentary Behaviour:

  • Stand up whilst talking to people on the phone
  • Walk around whilst the advert breaks are on during your favourite programme
  • Do some squats or other exercises whilst the kettle is boiling
  • Go for a walk at lunch time
  • Get a sit-stand desk
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Park further away from your destination
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk

For Further Information Support Is Available From:

  • Your GP, they can signpost you to a weight management group or a dietitian
  • The local council they should have information on activities in the area
  • NHS website
  • Free Couch to 5k app
  • Diabetes UK website