By Daniel Thomson, Exercise Physiologist North Sydney
According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects over 420 million people worldwide, with numbers expected to rise in the coming years. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way the body processes glucose, a type of sugar that is the body’s main source of energy. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both types can benefit greatly from regular exercise, which can help manage blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes.
How Exercise Can Help People with Diabetes
- Blood sugar management: Regular exercise can help manage blood sugar levels by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. When the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, blood sugar levels can rise, leading to diabetes. Exercise can help increase insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to better manage blood sugar levels.
- Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight is important for people with diabetes. Exercise can help with weight management by burning calories and building muscle mass. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage.
- Cardiovascular health: People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Exercise can help reduce this risk by improving cardiovascular health. Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve circulation, all of which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Using an Exercise Physiologist to Help Manage Diabetes
An exercise physiologist is a healthcare professional who specialises in the study of how the body responds to exercise. They can work with people with diabetes to develop personalised exercise plans that are tailored to their individual needs and goals.
An exercise physiologist can help people with diabetes by:
- Assessing fitness levels: An exercise physiologist can assess an individual’s fitness levels and develop a personalised exercise plan that takes into account their current fitness levels, medical history, and any complications associated with diabetes.
- Providing guidance and support: An exercise physiologist can provide guidance and support throughout the exercise program. They can help people with diabetes stay motivated and on track with their exercise goals.
- Monitoring progress: An exercise physiologist can monitor progress and make adjustments to the exercise plan as needed. This can help ensure that the exercise plan is effective and safe for the individual with diabetes.
Exercise can be a powerful tool for managing diabetes. Regular exercise can help manage blood sugar levels, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes. An exercise physiologist can provide guidance and support to help people with diabetes develop personalised exercise plans that are safe and effective.
How to get started with exercise
Starting an exercise routine can be daunting, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated due to your diabetes. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Before starting any exercise routine, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine what type of exercise is safe and appropriate for you, and can offer guidance on how to manage your diabetes during exercise.
- Start small: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with small, manageable goals. Even a short walk around the block can be a good place to start. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise routine over time.
- Find an exercise buddy: Having a friend or family member to exercise with can be a great source of motivation and accountability. You can also join a diabetes support group or exercise class to meet others who are also managing diabetes through exercise.
- Hire an exercise physiologist: An exercise physiologist can help you develop a safe and effective exercise plan that’s tailored to your individual needs and goals. They can also provide guidance and support to help you stay motivated and on track.
- Celebrate your successes: Don’t forget to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Every step in the right direction is a victory, and acknowledging your progress can help keep you motivated and on track.
- Colberg, S. R., Sigal, R. J., Yardley, J. E., Riddell, M. C., Dunstan, D. W., Dempsey, P. C., … & Tate, D. F. (2016). Physical activity/exercise and diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care, 39(11), 2065-2079.
- Chudyk, A., Petrella, R. J., & Maly, M. R. (2011). Effects of exercise on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care, 34(5), 1228-1237.
- American College of Sports Medicine. (2018). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Think you can’t run? Think again! With these tips from Caitlan Skillicorn Senior Physiotherapist
and the help of a physiotherapist, you can prepare for a run event and achieve your running goals safely and effectively. Whether you’re a beginner or just looking to improve your running, these tips will help you start your journey towards becoming a stronger and healthier runner. So don’t let your doubts hold you back – lace up your shoes and let’s get started!
Getting started with running can be an exciting but daunting task, especially if you are new to the sport. Here is a guide to help you get started and prepare for an event like a fun run or City to surf with the help of physiotherapy:
Start Slowly: If you are new to running, it is important to start slowly and build up gradually. Begin with shorter distances, such as 2-3km runs, and increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week. This will help you avoid injury and build endurance gradually.
Wear Proper Footwear: Wearing the right running shoes is important to reduce the risk of injury. Consult with a physiotherapist or a specialist running shoe store to find the right pair of shoes for your foot type and gait.
Warm-Up and Stretch: A proper warm-up can help reduce the risk of injury and prepare your body for exercise. Start with some light stretching exercises, such as lunges, squats, and leg swings, and gradually increase the intensity of your warm-up.
Follow a Training Plan: A structured training plan can help you build endurance and prepare for a long distance run. Consult with a physiotherapist to create a personalised training plan that takes into account your current fitness level, injury history, and other factors.
Cross-Train: Cross-training can help you build overall fitness and reduce the risk of injury. Incorporate strength and flexibility exercises into your training routine to help prevent injury and improve performance.
Monitor Your Progress: Keep track of your runs and monitor your progress. Use a GPS watch or smartphone app to track your distance, pace, and heart rate. This can help you stay motivated and make adjustments to your training plan as needed.
Rest and Recover: Rest days are important to allow your body to recover from exercise and prevent overuse injuries. Make sure to include rest days in your training plan and prioritise good sleep and nutrition.
Address Any Injuries: If you experience any pain or injuries during training, seek the advice of a physiotherapist. They can help you address the underlying issue and develop a treatment plan to get you back on track.
Speaking of injuries, as with any physical activity, running can also carry a risk of injury, especially for those who are just starting out or increasing their mileage. Here are some of the most common injuries that runners may experience when starting to run longer distances:
- Shin Splints: This is a common overuse injury that occurs when the muscles and tendons surrounding the shin bone become inflamed. Shin splints are often caused by increasing mileage or intensity too quickly, and can be prevented by gradually increasing mileage and incorporating strength and flexibility exercises into your training routine.
- Plantar Fasciitis: This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause sharp pain in the heel or arch of the foot, especially during the first steps after waking up or after sitting for a long time. This injury is often caused by overuse, improper footwear, or a lack of flexibility in the calf muscles.
- IT Band Syndrome: This is a common knee injury that occurs when the iliotibial (IT) band, a thick band of tissue that runs from the hip to the shin bone, becomes tight or inflamed. IT band syndrome can cause pain on the outside of the knee and is often caused by overuse or poor biomechanics.
- Runner’s Knee: This is a broad term that refers to several different types of knee pain, including patellofemoral pain syndrome and chondromalacia patella. Runner’s knee can cause pain around the kneecap and is often caused by overuse, poor biomechanics, or a lack of strength in the muscles surrounding the knee.
- Achilles Tendinitis: This is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis can cause pain and stiffness in the back of the heel and is often caused by overuse or a lack of flexibility in the calf muscles.
If you do experience an injury, it’s important to rest and seek physiotherapy treatment if necessary. With proper training and precautions, running can be a safe and rewarding form of exercise that can help you achieve your fitness goals.
With these tips, information and the help of a physiotherapist, you can prepare for a long distance or fun run and achieve your running goals safely and effectively.
By Jonathon Chellas, Senior Exercise Physiologist at North Sydney
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a common chronic disorder of the joints and mainly affects older adults. In healthy joints, cartilage covers the surface of the joint and helps to absorb shock and allows for smooth movement. With osteoarthritis, there is degeneration of the cartilage leading to stiffness, pain, and limited mobility. The most common joints affected by arthritis are the hips, knees, big toes, spine and hands. Interestingly there is a poor correlation between the severity of the condition based on imaging compared with people’s perceived pain levels. Exercise Physiologist’s can help individuals with osteoarthritis keep active and manage their symptoms. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of exercise physiology for osteoarthritis and how it can help you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
How can exercise physiology help with OA symptoms?
Exercise physiology is the scientific study of the physiological and metabolic responses to physical activity. In the context of osteoarthritis, exercise physiology focuses on developing exercise programs that are safe and effective for individuals with joint pain and limited mobility. The goal of exercise physiology for osteoarthritis is to improve strength, joint function, reduce pain, and enhance overall physical fitness.
Exercise physiology for osteoarthritis is a holistic approach that takes into account an individual’s unique needs and limitations. The exercise program may include a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises, tailored to each person’s specific needs. Some of the benefits of exercise physiology for osteoarthritis:
- Reduced Joint Pain: Exercise can help reduce joint pain by improving joint mobility, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the muscles around the joint.
- Improved Joint Function: Exercise can improve joint function by increasing range of motion, reducing stiffness, and improving balance and coordination.
- Increased Muscle Strength: Exercise can help increase muscle strength, which can help support the joints and improve overall physical function.
- Weight Management: Exercise can help with weight management, which can reduce the stress on the joints and improve overall health.
- Improved Mental Health: Exercise can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common in individuals with osteoarthritis.
Exercise physiology for osteoarthritis is a safe and effective way to manage joint pain and maintain an active lifestyle. However, it is important to consult with a qualified exercise physiologist before starting an exercise program. They can help develop an exercise plan that is tailored to your individual needs and limitations and ensure that you exercise safely and effectively.
Exercise physiology for osteoarthritis can help individuals manage joint pain, improve joint function, increase muscle strength, and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. With the help of a qualified exercise physiologist, individuals with osteoarthritis can develop a safe and effective exercise program that is tailored to their unique needs and limitations. Exercise may be challenging at first, but with perseverance, individuals with osteoarthritis can experience the benefits of exercise and improve their overall quality of life.
- Fransen, M., McConnell, S., Harmer, A. R., Van der Esch, M., Simic, M., & Bennell, K. L. (2015). Exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee: a Cochrane systematic review. British journal of sports medicine, 49(24), 1554-1557
- Brosseau, L., Taki, J., Desjardins, B., Thevenot, O., Fransen, M., Wells, G. A., … & Toupin-April, K. (2015). The Ottawa panel clinical practice guidelines for the management of knee osteoarthritis: Part one: Introduction, and mind-body exercise programs. Clinical rehabilitation, 29(11), 1061-1075.
- Uthman, O. A., van der Windt, D. A., Jordan, J. L., Dziedzic, K. S., Healey, E. L., & Peat, G. M. (2014). Exercise for lower limb osteoarthritis: systematic review incorporating trial sequential analysis and network meta-analysis. Bmj, 348, f5555.
- Porcheret, M., Jordan, K., Jinks, C., Croft, P., & Bedson, J. (2010). Primary care treatment of knee pain—a survey in older adults. Rheumatology, 49(11), 2214-2220.