Diabetes Self-Management Blog

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have issued a joint position statement establishing new exercise guidelines for people with Type 2 diabetes. These replace the ACSM guidelines issued in the 2000 position stand “Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes.”

The new recommendations were developed by a panel of nine experts based on evidence from recent high-quality studies establishing that regular physical activity can prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes and can positively impact factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, heart health, and quality of life. Most of these benefits, the authors note, are the result of both resistance and aerobic exercise and are achieved through both short- and long-term improvements in insulin action.

The panel recommends that people who already have Type 2 diabetes perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise spread out over at least three days of the week, with no more than two consecutive days between exercising. The panel states that for most people with Type 2 diabetes, brisk walking is considered a moderate-intensity exercise, and that the use of a pedometer and goal-setting (such as setting a target number of steps per day) are valuable tools for increasing physical activity. The experts also recommend that resistance exercise such as weight training be done at least twice a week — ideally three times — on days that are not consecutive. The panel suggests that people who are just starting weight training be supervised by a qualified trainer to ensure the most benefit and to minimize the risk of injury.

According to Sheri R. Colberg, PHD, an expert in exercise science and internal medicine and the writing chair of the recommendations, “Many physicians appear unwilling or cautious about prescribing exercise to individuals with Type 2 diabetes for a variety of reason, such as excessive body weight or the presence of health-related complications. However, the majority of people with Type 2 diabetes can exercise safely, as long as certain precautions are taken. The presence of diabetes complications should not be used as an excuse to avoid participation in physical activity.”

To learn more about the new recommendations, read the article “New Guidelines for Exercise in Type 2 Diabetes” or see the position statement’s abstract in Diabetes Care. And for more about exercising with diabetes, click here.

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