Treating Type 2 Diabetes with Exercise


Type 2 diabetes is 100% both preventable and curable. Type 2 diabetes is a long-term metabolic disorder that causes high blood sugar, insulin resistance and overall lack of insulin produced. It actually occurs as a result of obesity and lack of exercise. Treating type 2 diabetes with exercise is one of the few ways to actually reverse the disease! 100 million Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. It’s actually sad that our food industry and our lifestyle habits have done this to our country. We spend more time sitting in front of electronics than we do actually experiencing things. It’s time we start doing something about this epidemic and getting back to our roots of moving and cooking!

Treating type 2 diabetes with exercise is the only way to reverse the disease – unless you want to take medication to decrease insulin production for the rest of your life. Type 2 diabetes can be a genetic condition, meaning you could carry the gene that makes you susceptible to diabetes, but never actually “turn on” the gene! Lifestyle habits like poor eating and lack of movement will turn that gene on and in turn, become type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise

Type 2 Diabetes is when the body produces enough insulin, it just resists it or doesn’t know how to use it. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use the sugar from our food and convert it into energy. When our bodies cannot use the insulin it is producing it is called insulin resistance. This occurs when you have abused glucose in your diet (aka eating a bunch of fast digesting carbs) and the body can no longer take up glucose from your blood and convert it into energy. This leads to your pancreas making more and more insulin to help glucose enter your cells, yet only a certain amount is actually being used. Therefore the body is resistant to glucose and cannot properly use it. Which is why medication is then necessary to make sure you have adequate amounts of insulin being both produced and used.

diabetes and exercise

Exercise and Blood Sugar

The main goal with treating type 2 diabetes is finding a way to lower blood glucose and make sure the body learns how to use it, and that is done with exercise and diet!

When you exercise your muscles need more glucose to supply energy for your workout. That means our liver starts to increase the amount of glucose it releases. The only way to make this glucose usable by the muscles is to add insulin into the mixture. And with type 2 diabetes, the body creates excess insulin it just doesn’t have the ability to use it all. So, exercise lets you use it!

More specifically….

1.Insulin sensitivity is increased with exercise because your muscle cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after exercise, like I explained above.


2.When your muscles contract during activity/exercise, the cells in your body are able to use glucose for energy with or without insulin.

Diet and Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates are directly correlated to the rise and fall of blood sugar. You consume the food (carbohydrates) and your body digests it and breaks it down into sugar that you use as energy! This is a normal body function, and is actually the main resource of energy we create. No food = no energy.

If we eat a meal that is very high in carbs (or fast digesting carbs – like donuts and cookies) our blood sugar is going to skyrocket. This skyrocket is going to cause 1. you to have to come down from it but 2. an excess amount of sugar that is then going to be stored for later.

The thing with diabetes is the body no longer has the ability to use insulin to lower blood sugar with food, and turn leads to higher than normal blood sugar levels. This is caused by abuse, overtime, of foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. The inability to bring blood sugar down leads to a lot more stored fat, and is the reason that those with diabetes are usually obese.

blood sugar levels

Best Exercise for Type 2 Diabetes

There is no “secret sauce” when it comes to one workout working better, it all depends on one thing…which one you can stick to! Pick something you sort of like. I say sort of because when you are working hard and pushing the limits you are always going to dislike it a little bit; but picking something you would genuinely go back to is important!

As I said above, any exercise that causes a muscle contraction and gets your heart pumping is going to be beneficial. It could be biking, strength training, walking, tennis, cycling, yoga…ANYTHING! A research study given my Harvard Medical school states..

People with diabetes who walked at least two hours a week were less likely to die of heart disease than their sedentary counterparts, and those who exercised three to four hours a week cut their risk even more.

But you have to do it, because the only way to reduce insulin resistance (causes Diabetes) is movement and increasing the bodies ability to utilize blood sugar and insulin! I would recommend exercising 2-5 times per week. Doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous or for long periods of time – just 30 minutes a day!

So yes, Type 2 Diabetes can happy to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself! This means eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and making sure you don’t sit for long periods of time. The leading cause of Diabetes is obesity, and obesity is caused by the average American diet of McDonalds for breakfast and Burger King for lunch. Those are not real options, and that is not real food. Also remember that you don’t have to “live with” diabetes. You can reverse the effects with diet and exercise, and a live a life medication free! No disease defines you – you get to determine where your future takes you.


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Haley Rowe June 8, 2019