The first approach to the prevention and management of type II diabetes involves non-pharmacological, lifestyle interventions including regular physical activity as it has been shown to decrease the short- and long-term effects of the disease and reduce required insulin dosages.
As skeletal muscle is the largest insulin-sensitive tissue in the body, improvements in muscle quality can have a profound effect on disease management. Skeletal muscle also provides non-insulin-mediated glucose transport through muscle contraction and exercise. This pathway stimulates the GLUT4 transporter to move to the muscle membrane to take up glucose independent of circulating insulin levels. In addition, both high-intensity and sub-threshold intensity exercise trigger GLUT4 translocation via slightly different mechanisms. Thus, exercise is a powerful tool in the management of blood glucose both acutely and chronically.