Physical Activity Recommendations for Patients With Diabetes

This Physician’s Weekly feature on physical activity recommendations for patients with diabetes was completed in cooperation with the experts at the American Diabetes Association. The CDC estimates that 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes, a condition characterized by A1C, fasting glucose, or oral glucose tolerance levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Research has shown that regular physical activity (PA) may prevent or delay diabetes and its complications, but most people with type 2 diabetes are not physically active. “PA is central to the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes,” says Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, FACSM. “It helps treat associated glucose, lipid, and blood pressure control abnormalities, and aids in weight loss and weight maintenance.” She adds that medications used to control type 2 diabetes should augment lifestyle improvements rather than replace them. Help for Healthcare Providers In the December 2010 issues of Diabetes Care and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine issued guidelines on exercise for people with type 2 diabetes as a joint position statement. The recommendations, which were developed by Dr. Colberg and a panel of experts, are the first that were created jointly with the two organizations. They incorporated evidence-based data from published clinical studies and trials into the recommendations. “The presence of diabetes complications should not be used as an excuse to avoid participation in PA.” “Research has established the importance of PA to health for all individuals, but these guidelines provide specific advice for those whose diabetes may limit vigorous or other...