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Prediabetes – if nothing is done to reverse it, often leads to Type 2 diabetes. This further puts you at increased risk of developing other serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

“Being diagnosed with prediabetes does not mean that you will definitely develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, you can still prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes by changing your eating habits and increasing your physical activity,” said Dr Fadzil Hamzah, Senior Staff Registrar from Singapore Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre (SSMC) at Changi General Hospital (CGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

"However, exercising occasionally may not be adequate to prevent the onset of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In addition to the recommended incidental daily physical activities of 10,000 steps/day, every adult individual should also aim to perform at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense cardiovascular workouts in a week regularly, for the best health benefits,” Dr Hamzah added.

If I am already exercising, what more can I do?

If you have been exercising but are still diagnosed with prediabetes, then you should aim to do one or morephysical activities that raises your heart rate (cardiovascular exercises) for 30mins a day, with the goal of 150mins in a week. If you are unable to tolerate 30mins a day, then start with 10mins and slowly build to 30mins over the next few weeks.

Choose a variety of activities that you enjoy. Try something new. Take a lesson or try a new sport. Have fun with a new activity like ballroom dancing, kayaking, hiking, badminton etc. with your friends and loved ones.

Join a fitness club in your neighbourhood. If you are unsure of what exercises to do, speak to a qualified fitness professional. Visit a public pool to do aquatic exercises. Vitamin D makes it a great outdoor workout while the buoyancy reduces stress on your joints. This also helps to build strong bones and prevents osteoporosis as you get older.

Plan for your daily exercise session. Set it as an appointment in your calendar as your health deserves the attention.

Exercise goals to achieve for a healthier you

  • Perform at least 150mins of moderate intensity physical activity in a week
  • Do some strength or resistance training that work on the major muscle groups for at least twice a week
  • Stretch your body as regularly as possible to maintain flexibility
  • Incorporate balance exercises daily as you get older to prevent falls

But regular exercise is only one part of the solution...

While physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, that alone may not be enough in the prevention of the onset and progression of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Dietary changes make the greatest impact on prevention. At the end of the day, committing to both a healthy diet and regular exercise will be best the way to go.

You do not need to buy 'special foods' or cook separate meals for a healthy diet. Some simple dietary habits include:

  • Eating three main meals regularly
  • Using HPB's My Healthy Plate to achieve a balanced diet meal plan that will provide all the daily nutrients you need
  • Eating a wide variety of food from natural sources for better nourishment and remember to include whole grains, fruit, vegetables and calcium-rich food

Hardly or never exercise? See the previous page to find out how to do it safely and begin reversing prediabetes.

Ref: M19

Plus, check out our other articles on prediabetes:

Prediabetes: Symptoms and Causes

Prediabetes: Tips to Reverse It

What is Prediabetes and What to Do When You're Diagnosed

Get help to reverse prediabetes! Learn about the Pre-DICTED Programme