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World Diabetes Day: 14th November

14th November 2017

World Diabetes Day


Diabetes can be life threatening if not taken seriously. However, there can be precautions to take to help control insulin levels and ensure that the body is processing sugar correctly.

Going to the gym and training can benefit you by lowering the risk for heart disease, improve the way it uses blood sugar and responds better to insulin.

There isn’t much difference in training compared to someone who is looking to lose weight but to be wary of controlling hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia etc.

However, according to “The Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Guide”, not everyone living with Diabetes needs to lose weight. Some people have the opposite problem: being underweight and having little muscle mass.
When trying to gain weight, blood glucose levels MUST be controlled.

Before starting any heavy training or suddenly changing eating habits, a GP must be consulted to ensure the body is receiving the right amount of insulin to sustain a healthy lifestyle.


According to one of our Darlington PT’s: “Nutrition plays a big part in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. Dietary factors can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. 

The most significant factors are a diet high in energy, fat (especially saturates) and low in fibre. This kind of diet is harmful because it can cause weight gain and it can also impair your insulin action. It is not known whether or not these dietary factors have a direct effect independent of their effect on obesity, but there are thought to be links. There is evidence that shows saturated fat in a diet increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and that fibre is protective is more convincing than the evidence for several other nutrients which have been linked with type 2 diabetes. It is a common myth that sugar in the diet causes type 2 diabetes; research has shown that this is not the case.

People with diabetes should try to maintain a healthy weight and follow a food plan that is low in fat (particularly saturates) and salt but contains plenty of fruit and vegetables (the recommended five portions a day) and starchy carbohydrate foods such as bread, rice and pasta (particularly whole-grain versions).

Regular consumption of wholegrain foods has been linked by researchers to a reduction in risk of several diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Wholegrain foods provide many nutrients such as fibre, certain minerals and vitamins.  They also contain several compounds such as antioxidants which may be important in disease prevention.”

According to our Avon Valley Club Manager: “Exercise reduces blood sugar levels meaning regular exercise can improve blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity (the amount of insulin required to breakdown carbs into energy).

Reducing weight and body fat will also help reduce the dependence on Insulin to control blood levels.

There needs to be a balance between exercise and diet to make sure that appropriate levels of Insulin are delivered - i.e. there needs to be adequate fuel (Carbs) for the exercise to avoid hypos (low blood sugar). 

A few links to have a read through:

Article 1: 

  • Usually lowers your blood sugar.
  • Improves insulin sensitivity, which means your body’s insulin works better. Note: You may need an adjustment in your diabetes medication or insulin dose to help prevent the blood sugar from going too low. Ask your health care provider for advice.
  • Reduces body fat.
  • Helps to build and tone muscles.
  • Lowers your risk for heart disease.
  • Improves circulation.
  • Preserves bone mass.
  • Reduces stress and enhances quality of life.​

Article 2:

Article 3:  “

If you are new to training, consulting with a PT could be extremely beneficial to understand what type of exercising you should be doing, whether it is heavy powerlifting or low impact aerobics classes.

“The Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Guide” gives a clear Diabetic exercise check list:

  • Keep a clear head
  • Know what you’re eating
  • Know when you last took your medication
  • Know how your body reacts to exercise
  • Know the best options to regain control



It is extremely important that Personal Trainers are aware of Diabetic training and to clearly understand the type of Diabetes their client has. Especially when it comes to recovery and diet, ensuring that the right steps are taking to keep it safe and beneficial for the client.

All fitness professionals should also be well aware of complications such as:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular complications associated with the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, feet and nervous system
  • Nerve damage and other neurological disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Orthopaedic limitations (e.g. joint surgery)
  • Other underlying medical conditions that may hinder exercise performance
  • History of smoking


All of these should be discussed prior to a new training programme. In any case, where complications do exist, an individual’s response to exercise must be measured and progressed accordingly.

Although there may not be a lot of difference in the type of activity or training the client does, ensuring the safest precautions are taken, ensures they are monitoring their insulin levels correctly and not causing any stress on the body.

For more information on strength training with Diabetes disease, read:

Or take a look here:


*All information has been taken from both links above.