Type 2 diabetes and exercises: How physical activities has a positive impact on the lives of diabetic patients.

Photo by: Kate on Unsplash 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, 7.2 percent of adults in Germany (aged 18 to 79) have diabetes mellitus. The majority, about 90 to 95 percent, experience the non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes. This condition, commonly known as diabetes, brings significant daily challenges for millions of people, making their lives tougher and increasing the risk of other serious illnesses. Both for preventing this chronic metabolic disease and for acute treatment, engaging in exercise and sports can be beneficial.

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

In both cases, the body has a problem with the hormone insulin. This substance is needed to transport sugar from the blood into the cells or liver. If this process does not work properly, the blood sugar level in the blood will rises steadily.

While the body cannot produce insulin at all in diabetes type 1, in type 2 the pancreas produces too slowly and too little amounts of insulin or the insulin produced no longer works properly in the cells. Type 1 diabetes comes on suddenly with no prevention, and it requires insulin treatment. In contrast, Type 2 diabetes develops gradually but can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle. Managing mild cases involves exercise, improved nutrition, and weight loss, while more severe cases may need medication.

Type 2 diabetes was traditionally labeled as adult-onset diabetes because it primarily affected older individuals. However, it is increasingly prevalent among adolescents nowadays. This shift is partly attributed to the sedentary lifestyles prevalent in modern society. 

Why are physical activities important during the type 2 diabetes treatment? 

Exercises, especially in the aerobic range, supports the treatment of type 2 diabetes in different ways: 

  • Reduction in body weight
  • Glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivities are improved
  • Reduction of HbA1c levels
  • Cardiorespiratory system is improved
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced

Studies have shown that aerobic training in the form of walking, for example, brought significant health benefits to type 2 diabetes patients after just two years. Other appropriate sports include jogging, low-intensity swimming and cycling. Since physical activity is an effective and cost-saving treatment tool, it also reduces the burden on the healthcare system.

Regular monitoring of individual health data

Since type 2 diabetes usually begins gradually, regular monitoring of personal health data is recommended. In this way the disease can be detected early. If you already have type 2 diabetes, whilst having a healthier lifestyle, constant adjustment of your individual treatment is important.

It's best to regularly review and adjust changes in your diet and exercise based on your individual metabolic profile. Our compromise is to continuously improve our devices, using non-invasive breath gas analysis to measure real-time health data. This helps in early diagnosis and prevention, aiming to prevent and combat diseases effectively. 

Author: Lisa Schräder

Translation: Bruna Rocha 


Bundesministerium für Gesundheit: Diabetes mellitus Typ 1 und Typ 2, URL: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/themen/praevention/gesundheitsgefahren/diabetes#:~:text=In%20Deutschland%20ist%20bei%20circa,Stellschrauben%20zur%20Bek%C3%A4mpfung%20von%20Diabetes(Stand: 18.12.2023). 

Cannata F., Vadalá G., Russo F., Rocco P. et al: Beneficial Effects of Physical Activity in Diabetic Patients (2020), URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7739324/ (Stand: 18.12.2023).

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