Diabetes control with physical activity and exercise

Nutr Clin Care. May-Sep 2003;6(2):89-96.


Regular physical activity and exercise are important components in the prevention of diabetes. In addition to lowering blood glucose, exercise improves insulin action, contributes to weight loss, and reduces several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The association between increased levels of physical activity and a reduced occurrence of diabetes' long-term complications suggests that regular physical activity has a protective role. This association has been shown in the Diabetes Prevention Program. In which physical activity in the form of walking for 30 minutes/day on most days of the week was encouraged. Most people with diabetes, like people without diabetes, fall to meet national physical activity goals. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to 23% of deaths from leading chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Given the epidemic nature of diabetes in the world during the 21st century, diabetes management through physical activity and structured exercise should be considered an adjunct to diabetes management. While both endurance and resistance exercise can improve insulin action and glucose homeostasis, the two forms of exercise differ significantly in how they alter muscle metabolism and structure. Understanding the beneficial effects of exercise, as well as the mechanisms for adopting a physically active lifestyle, is important for the management of diabetes mellitus. Despite the well-known benefits of exercise, patient education, paired with the implementation and promotion of safe and sustainable habits of physical activity for individuals with diabetes, is still inadequate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glycemic Index / physiology
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology