For a long time, the general recommendation to help manage diabetes was cardio (aerobic) training.

This exercise recommendation was suggested to include at least 150 minutes a week of moderate (somewhat puffed) training.  Of this 90 minutes should be of vigorous (very puffed) intensity.

However, as this is such as large expectation for most people, only 28% of people with Diabetes ever achieve this level of activity (Boule NG, 2001).

What is becoming clear, is the most important exercise for the management of Diabetes is Strength/Resistance training.

It is recommended to compete 30 minutes of strength training twice a week to help directly increase your lean muscle mass. This not only makes you stronger and be more active in life but has the following proven effects:

  • Reduced blood levels of HB1aC, a direct measure of measure of long-term glucose regulation and management.  There is also a direct correlation between increases in lean muscle mass and degree of reduction in HB1aC and in Blood glucose levels (Baldi JC, 2003)
  • Reduction in the need/amount of diabetes medication in 72% of individuals (Castaneda C, 2002)
  • A direct improvement in glucose sensitivity, including, but not limited to improved glucose receptors on the muscles, more glucose receptors on the muscles, improved storage of glucose as glycogen instead of fat both in the muscles and in the liver.  This all leads to better glucose management, even before your improvements in lean muscle mass (Cauza E, 2002).

If you think it sounds simple, it’s because it is!  The most important aspect is consistency and time.  The more consistent you are (twice a week!) and the longer you train, the larger and more consistent the results.

Our experienced and qualified staff of Physiotherapists and Accredited Exercise Physiologists at MD Health can ensure that your program is always specific and tailored to your needs, no matter your level of fitness and strength. We will also ensure liaise with your doctor as needed so that your diabetes is managed in the best way possible!

Want to know more?

If you want more information on resistance and clinical exercise at MD Health or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at



Author: Michael Dermansky

Michael has now been working in physiotherapy for over 20 years, since graduating from Melbourne University in 1998 and is even more passionate about getting the best outcomes for clients than he was then. Michael is always studying and looking for new and innovative ways to improve the service at MD Health, including and not limited to the ideas from the fitness industry and great customer service companies. In his spare moments, he loves spending time with his two children, Sebastian and Alexander and hopefully taking them skiing more and more often.

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