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Physical activity is strongly associated with mortality and morbidity in type 2 diabetes, after controlling for obesity and other factors.
Lack of physical activity is a major cause of metabolic dysfunction and the morbidity and mortality of diabetes.
Significant weight loss requires considerable amounts of regular physical activity.
Substantial cardiometabolic benefits can occur at lower levels of physical activity than required for weight loss.
Therefore, any increase in physical activity may reduce cardiometabolic risk and improve health.
What is moderate and vigorous activity?
Moderate: 40-60% of aerobic capacity or 3-6 METs (requires a moderate amount of effort and noticeably accelerates the heart rate)
Vigorous: ≥60% of aerobic capacity or >6 METs (requires a large amount of effort and causes a substantial increase in heart rate)
Standards for Physical Activity
Significant Weight Loss
Reduce Risk of Diabetes*
Type of Activity
5 – 7 days/week
30 – 60+ minutes/day, progress to 300 minutes/week**
≥30 minutes/day, ≥150 minutes/week**
2000 to 3000 kcal/week
40,000 - 60,000 pedometer steps counts/week**
1000 to 1500 kcal
20,000 - 30,000 pedometer step counts/week**
* May be accompanied with a small to very moderate weight loss
** These energy exenditures and step counts do not include activities of daily living.
When should an exercise ECG test be considered before beginning a physical activity program?
High-risk individual engaged in moderate or vigorous exercise
Moderate risk individual engaged in vigorous exercise