Increasing Physical Activity for Those with Type 2 Diabetes

Individuals with type 2 diabetes spend a lot of their time sitting and typically do not meet the recommendations for physical activity. Additionally, research has found that they often struggle with sustaining physical activity over time. Recently, researchers highlighted the importance of increasing physical activity and noted that receiving behavioral counseling specialized to exercise can make a significant difference. They found that those who received regular counseling from an exercise specialist improved their health habits. The counseling centered around teaching individuals how to move more and sit less. Compared to those who only received advice from a physician once a year, these individuals saw improved health outcomes.

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Research has continued to support the finding that prolonged sitting time can have a negative effect on our health and increase the risk of mortality. These findings suggest that starting small and reducing sedentary time can be an effective way of incorporating physical activity. The exercise specialists in the study worked to promote physical activity in two steps. First, they worked on decreasing sedentary time by substituting it with a wide range of light-intensity physical activity. Second, they incorporated more purposeful moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. Over the course of three years, they were able to increase their weekly physical activity, engage in more physical activity per day, and spend less time sedentary per day.

The results of the current study can have important implications for those with type 2 diabetes. They suggest that it can be difficult to increase physical activity on your own, with only the recommendation of a physician. Those who were most successful at increasing their physical activity and improving their health engaged in regular meetings with an exercise specialist. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing an exercise specialist who is willing to meet with you to help increase physical activity and reduce sedentary time. Additionally, we can help by providing support for adhering to living a healthier life.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: ‘Move More, Sit Less’ Counseling Can Change Habits in Diabetes. Marlene Busko– Medscape– March 5, 2019.; Balducci, S., D’Errico, V., Haxhi, J., et al. (2019).  Effect of a behavioral intervention strategy on sustained change in physical activity and sedentary behavior in patients with type 2 diabetes.  Journal of American Medical Association, 321(9), 880-890.