Sports Medicine

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 39–49 | Cite as

Exercise Prescription in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Current Practices, Existing Guidelines and Future Directions
  • Ciara O’HaganEmail author
  • Giuseppe De Vito
  • Colin A. G. Boreham
Review Article


Exercise is an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus, resulting in stabilization of plasma glucose in the acute phase and improvements in body composition, insulin resistance and glycosylated haemoglobin with chronic exercise training. However, the most appropriate exercise prescription for type 2 diabetes has not yet been established, resulting from insufficient evidence to determine the optimum type, intensity, duration or frequency of exercise training. Furthermore, patient engagement in exercise is suboptimal. There are many likely reasons for low engagement in exercise; one possible contributory factor may be a tendency for expert bodies to prioritize the roles of diet and medication over exercise in their treatment guidelines. Published treatment guidelines vary in their approach to exercise training, but most agencies suggest that people with type 2 diabetes engage in 150 min of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week. This prescription is similar to the established guidelines for cardiovascular health in the general population. Future possibilities in this area include investigation of the physiological effects and practical benefits of exercise training of different intensities in type 2 diabetes, and the use of individualized prescription to maximize the health benefits of training.


Physical Activity Exercise Training Exercise Programme Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding sources, previous publication and conflicts of interest: This review was supported by a grant from the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology. This review has not been previously published and the authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciara O’Hagan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Giuseppe De Vito
    • 2
  • Colin A. G. Boreham
    • 2
  1. 1.Academy of Sport and Physical ActivitySheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK
  2. 2.Institute for Sport and HealthUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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