Exercise helps your diabetes, even without weight loss

By Steve Flint

DQ sports nutritionist


Did you know that exercise helps your diabetes, even if you don't achieve other goals such as weight loss?


One of the biggest reasons people exercise is to lose weight.


The trouble is, if weight loss doesn't occur (or it plateaus), many people lose their motivation and stop exercising.


Many people are also unable to be active for enough time to lose weight and therefore may not see the point in exercise. So what if I told you that being active even without weight loss is just as beneficial for your health?


Research shows that low fitness increases the risk of developing chronic diseases as well as reducing our life expectancy. The good news is that exercise has been proven to increase our fitness and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, fatigue and depression even without weight loss.


Most people reading this article know they should be active for 30 minutes a day, preferably on most days of the week.


This can be achieved by exercising for 30 minutes continuously or doing three bouts of 10 minutes across the day.


Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be running marathons to improve your fitness.


You can improve your fitness with as little as 10 minutes of exercise a day, meaning taking the dog for a brisk walk can result in substantial health benefits. When your fitness increases, you can work up to achieving three bouts of 10 minutes (or 30 minutes continuous) a day.


So what can be counted as exercise? Gardening, tai chi, water aerobics, and even housework can all be counted as physical activity.


If you don't like a particular type of exercise, there are plenty of other options available.

The key is to find a type of exercise you enjoy and can see yourself doing long-term. For exercise suggestions, please see our Fact Sheet on Physical Activity.


So, rather than seeing exercise as a way to lose a few kilos, try and focus on the substantial health benefits you can achieve even without a shift in weight.


If you have any limitations, we recommend you see your GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before starting a new exercise regimen. Talk to you GP to see if you are eligible for a referral to an Exercise Physiologist with a Medicare rebate.

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