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Connection Between Sedentary Lifestyle and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

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Connection Between Sedentary Lifestyle and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

4 min read


Eating habits can disturb the body's function and can play a role in causing diabetes. Read below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At May 30, 2016
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024


The human body uses the glucose with the help of insulin, which is synthesized in the pancreas and acts on the cell receptors so that glucose gets entry into the cell for consumption. Diabetes is a disorder in which the body is not able to use glucose efficiently. Once diabetes was considered as a disease of rich people, but nowadays it is seen in all classes of the general population. One of the major causes of type 2 diabetes mellitus is wrong eating habits.

What Is the Foundation Period of Diabetes?

Just after the infancy period, mothers start giving sweet products to their kids. The children become used to sweets and products high in sugar. It is seen that this is the time from which pro-glucose imbalance starts settling in the form of frequent insulin fluctuations and is the foundation period of diabetes mellitus type 2.

What Is the Role of Insulin?

When a food product is consumed, it is initially absorbed by the GIT (gastrointestinal system) system. Then it reaches the blood and through which it will be available to the pancreas and so insulin is secreted. Here, it is important to understand that in the blood there is always a constant amount of insulin. It is known as the base level of insulin. In response to food products, it peaks in a few hours and returns back to base level in approximately three to four hours after consumption of food.

For a healthy metabolism, the insulin should reach normal base levels after meals. But, unfortunately, insulin hardly comes to base levels in most people nowadays, because they eat so frequently. Here, a meal means everything that is eaten except plain water. Even a cup of tea is a meal because it will cause a spike in insulin levels. Ideally, a person should eat three times a day and there should be a gap of at least five to six hours between meals, so that insulin could reach normal base levels.

What Is Hyperglycemia?

If a person keeps following frequent intake of meals, which causes hyperinsulinemia and at the same time the person is not so much physically active, then the blood sugar is not used. Also, one can say that it is not required by the cells and remains in the blood causing hyperglycemia. As a result, the smart body starts down the regulation of insulin receptors, which means a decrease in the number of insulin receptors. So, the downregulation of insulin receptors occurs as a result of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.

As the number of insulin receptors decreases, there is hyperglycemia in the blood and most of the time for a sustained period after meals which is simply the starting phase of this disorder. This decrease in insulin receptors is a reversible condition for a few years. If a person starts doing exercise in this phase, then again a phenomenon of upregulation is possible in which the normal number of receptors is restored in response to exercise. But, if the downregulation of insulin receptors remains as such for a few years, then permanent loss of receptors occurs, and diabetes gets settled into the body.

Why Do Diabetic People Always Feel Hungry?

People who have high levels of insulin often feel hungry and keep eating. In our body there are two hormones, one is to start hunger and the other is for satiety. They are ghrelin and leptin respectively. Insulin is structurally similar to leptin. So, if a person has frequent high levels of insulin, then this insulin blocks those receptors in the central nervous system on which usually leptin works and satiety is not felt. As a result, a person does not feel satiety and eats more and produces more insulin, which again produces more hunger by not getting satiety. So, it is a vicious cycle that is very dangerous for the metabolism and is a main part of diabetes mellitus 2.

What Does a Sedentary Lifestyle Mean?

A sedentary lifestyle means spending a lot of time sitting or lying down. People with sedentary lifestyles rarely or never exercise and do not move around much during the day. Those with sedentary lifestyles do not meet the minimum requirements for physical activity. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. This could be spread out over three to seven days, with no more than two consecutive rest days.

Aerobic exercises are activities that get your body moving and improve cardiovascular health. These include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, and more. Research shows that being more physically active can lower the risk of diabetes by around 30 percent.

How Does a Sedentary Lifestyle Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

A sedentary lifestyle greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Exercise has many benefits for managing diabetes, like reducing body fat, lowering blood pressure, and improving insulin resistance, which happens when cells do not respond well to insulin and cannot turn glucose into energy.

Regular exercise can significantly decrease diabetes complications and may even prevent or reverse it. Exercising regularly helps the muscles, liver, and fat cells absorb sugar better, improving how the body responds to insulin and lowering insulin resistance.

Without regular exercise, sugar stays in the blood instead of going into muscles for energy. This could result in insulin resistance, where the body doesn't produce enough insulin for cells to use, leading to consistently high blood sugar levels. This situation can lead to diabetes and widespread inflammation throughout the body.

How to Prevent Diabetes?

As a preventive value, a person who is prediabetic still or is healthy,

  • They should take their meals three to four times daily, strictly, and should consume only water in between.

  • Exercise regularly to keep the insulin receptors in adequate numbers.

The above-mentioned two things are important in preventing type 2 diabetes mellitus.

What Practical Measures Can Be Taken to Encourage Physical Activity?

People who are not very active should start exercising slowly and gradually increase how long and how often they exercise. Other ways to be more active during the day include:

  • Walking for 10 to 30 minutes each day

  • Standing up and walking around for five to 10 minutes every hour instead of sitting all the time

  • Using stairs instead of elevators

  • Parking farther away from buildings to walk more

  • Walking or biking instead of driving

  • Taking the dog for a walk

  • Using a stationary bike or treadmill while watching television.

Before starting a new exercise routine or exercising more, talk to the doctor. They can make sure the heart, lungs, and blood vessels are healthy enough for more physical activity.


Being physically inactive or not moving much is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. It makes it harder for the body to control blood sugar and insulin. Doing exercise often and moving more during the day can lower the chance of getting diabetes and make it easier to control blood sugar and insulin, reducing diabetes-related problems.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Is Blood Sugar Affected by a Sedentary Lifestyle?

Studies have shown that every minute of sedentary life increases about 7 to 8 seconds of hyperglycemia time, which, on accumulation, may manifest as type 2 diabetes.


A Sedentary Lifestyle Gives Rise to Which Two Types of Diseases?

A sedentary lifestyle gives rise to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It also increases the risk for obesity, colon cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, and mental health conditions.


Is Lifestyle an Essential Criterion for Diabetes?

Although type 2 diabetes is not always associated with overweight individuals, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are the most common etiologies of type 2 diabetes.


Who Is Susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes?

Individuals above 45, African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander populations, and people with familial history, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes.


What Does It Take for a Sedentary Lifestyle to Manifest Into a Disease?

A sedentary lifestyle increases all causes of mortality and the risk of cardiovascular, hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers. In addition, various unhealthy lifestyle choices can ultimately coalesce into a systemic illness.


Differentiate Between Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes and diabetes mellitus are the same. Diabetes mellitus has been called diabetes, in short, in multiple instances. Whereas diabetes insipidus and juvenile diabetes are entirely different entities.


Is It Possible for a Lack of Exercise to Lead to Diabetes?

Lack of exercise can lead to the muscle cells losing insulin sensitivity which controls the sugar levels in the blood, which may manifest into diabetes.


Is It Possible for Type 2 Diabetes to Become Insulin Dependent?

Diabetes is a progressive disorder; the body might require insulin shots to compensate for insulin deficiency. In addition, people may depend solely on intramuscular insulin shots for their sugar homeostasis with declining pancreas function.


Is It Possible to Manage Type 2 Diabetes Without Medication?

In the initial stages of the disease, the condition can be managed without medications, preferably reversed. The steps are:
- Daily exercise.
- Carb management.
- Fibrous diet.
- Optimal hydration.
- Portion control.
- Food with a low glycemic index.
- Stress level management.
- Regular glucose monitoring.
- Sufficient sleep.
- Chromium and magnesium-rich food.
- Apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, berberine, and fenugreek seeds.
- Weight management.
- Probiotic foods.


What Is the Primary Risk Factor for Developing Type 2 Diabetes?

The primary risk of developing diabetes is for people who are overweight or obese and with sedentary lifestyles.


How to Manage Hunger as a Diabetic Patient?

Diabetic hunger, also known as diabetic hyperphagia, can be managed by certain adjustments, such as:
- Eat a high-fiber diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
- High protein breakfast.
- Eat without distractions.
- Food with various tastes, herbs, and spices.
- Distract from hunger with activities.
- Allow small amounts of the most-craved food.
- Keep healthy snacks handy.


Is It Possible for a Type 2 Diabetes to Be Hungry?

Polyphagia is an early warning sign of diabetes as the cells are starved of fuel, although swimming in glucose. The failure of the insulin intake mechanism makes the cells hungry for food.


When to Eat the Last Meal at Night as a Diabetic Patient?

The best advice is to fast at night by capping the final meal time between 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM.


What Is the Reason for Not Feeling Satisfied After Eating?

People with diabetes experience polyphagia, which makes them feel hungry even after feeding. This is due to the failure of the glucose intake mechanism in the cells, due to which the cells do not receive fuel even if they are swimming in glucose.
Dr. Shardendu Tomar
Dr. Shardendu Tomar

General Practitioner


blood glucose levelsedentary lifestylediabetes
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