As shown above, losing weight, through exercise and adapting a well-balanced diet, can improve the day-to-day quality of life for patients with diabetes. It can, however, also have a positive effect on a patient’s future health and reduce their risk of experiencing diabetes-related complications down the line.
Those with diabetes are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, through mechanisms not yet fully understood. Increased physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of adverse cardiac events in a number of studies. As a direct result of this, the American Diabetes Association and the Diabetes Prevention Program both advocate the use of exercise as a means of managing and preventing diabetes-induced heart disease.
Exercise has many benefits; it lowers blood glucose levels and increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, meaning that it can be a very useful tool in the management of diabetes. It is also an effective means of losing weight and a natural mood enhancer and stress reliever; thereby improving quality of life in those with a long-term chronic condition, such as diabetes.
Taking part in regular physical activity improves the health of those with T1DM. It can also be used to prevent, or at least delay, the development of T2DM in those who are considered to be high risk, including those with GDM. The use of exercise as part of the treatment approach for any form of diabetes is widely accepted and encouraged.