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Exercise “prescriptions” important for type 2 diabetes

The authors of a review of international guidelines on exercise in people with type 2 diabetes have concluded that physicians should give exercise “prescriptions” with specific details on the type, mode, duration, intensity and weekly frequency.

The authors of a review of international guidelines on exercise in people with type 2 diabetes have concluded that physicians should give exercise “prescriptions” with specific details on the type, mode, duration, intensity and weekly frequency. This is likely to be much more helpful than mere encouragement to “exercise more”.

The authors performed a systematic search of clinical guidelines from major international scientific organisations and reviewed a total of 11 publications. All of these recommend a weekly accumulation of ≥150 minutes of aerobic exercise at moderate-to-vigorous intensity, spread over a minimum of 3 days per week. Resistance exercise is recommended at least 2 days a week, and flexibility exercises may complement other types of exercise. Combining aerobic and resistance exercise within the same exercise session is recommended by most guidelines. However, exercise strategies must be adapted for each individual, based on co-morbidities, contraindications and realistic personal goals.

Aerobic exercise can include brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming or other activities, and resistance exercise should target large muscle groups with machines or free weights. Flexibility exercises include stretching and yoga.

The review can be read in full here.

NICE guidelines, which follow the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer and reflect the findings of this review, recommend the following:

  • For adults: At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, in bouts of 10 minutes or more (e.g. 30 minutes at least 5 days a week).
  • For children and young people: At least 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.
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