News & Insights 18 July 2022

Everyday physical activity can act as a powerful medicine to fight the onset of type 2 diabetes

At KiActiv® we strongly believe in the power of everyday physical activity as a medicine to both fight and prevent against disease. With this in mind, a recent study by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland caught our attention. The study dived into the positive impact of regular physical activity on the body’s metabolic profile and the impact this has on type 2 diabetes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a non-communicable disease whereby blood glucose levels are too high and our bodies cannot, therefore, effectively control blood glucose, which leads to a host of different health issues.

In 2019, there were 1.5 million deaths caused by type 2 diabetes. Being overweight is the primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, so healthier lifestyle choices, such as incorporating regular physical activity into your normal daily routine, is vital to reducing your risk.

The Study

The study which caught our attention included 7,000 men who were followed up for 8 years, providing us with a good level of information on their long-term health. They were classified into four categories based on their physical activity: physically inactive, physically active only occasionally, physically active no more than twice a week, and physically active at least three times a week. None of the participants had type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the study. 

A physical activity questionnaire was conducted among the men at the beginning of the study period and again eight years later. Participants also underwent an oral glucose tolerance test and had their metabolites analysed from a blood glucose sample.

The Results 

The results of the study demonstrate that men in the highest physical activity category had a 39% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes at follow-up, and men who were physically active no more than twice a week had a 30% lower risk, than men who were physically inactive. This shows that any form of physical activity is going to be beneficial to your health, and could lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What is Physical Activity?

With the results of the study firmly in mind, if someone asked you: “what is physical activity?”, what do you envisage? You may immediately picture someone going for a run, or lifting weights in the gym, but physical activity is much simpler than this. In fact, WHO defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure”. 

This means that the common depiction of physical activity as something which must be vigorous, sweaty and, to many people, rather unpleasant is simply untrue. This is exercise, and whilst exercise is extremely beneficial for health and may be an appropriate option for some, it is only a subset of physical activity as a whole. Physical activity encapsulates each and every movement we make, which is far more appealing and accessible to a wider proportion of the population, many of whom may even believe they cannot be physically active. At KiActiv®, we believe in finding opportunities to move more. This could include anything from taking the dog out for a walk, spending more time digging flowerbeds in the garden or simply moving more around the house!

We help people to make the most of everyday life using personalised technology to get you moving in a way that works for you, as every move you make matters.

It is never too late to start making these small, yet impactful, changes.