(RxWiki News) People with type 2 diabetes should aerobically exercise for 150 minutes a week, according to a new study in the journal Diabetes Care.
If that's too long, federal guidelines stipulate 75 minutes of vigorous exercise will suffice for adults instead of the allotted 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise. How you divvy those numbers up is up to you, however. The exercise could even be divided into 10-minute bursts, according to the paper.
"People think of it as they join the gym, or they don't do anything," said one of the study authors, Sheri Colberg-Ochs. "There are a lot of things in between."
The new guidelines, issued in part by Old Dominion University, should help doctors who don't feel comfortable telling patients how much exercise they should get in a week's time.
Improving diet and changing exercise habits should be the first line of defense against diabetes, according to Colberg-Ochs.
"The medications are supplemental to that. You should not take the medications until you make the lifestyle changes," she said.
And for the millions who will likely be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the next 25 years, combining physical activity and modest weight loss can lower the risk of developing the disease by 58 percent.
Diabetes, a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood, results from either a pancreatic malfunction or from cells that do not properly process insulin both of which result in high blood sugar. Persistent high blood sugar, in turn, damages internal organs and nerves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that as many as one in three American adults may have diabetes by 2050. Following federal guidelines and getting plenty of exercise and eating less sugar, carbohydrates and fats, however, may lessen that figure.
"This wave of diabetes that's predicted is not inevitable," Colberg-Ochs said.