Second Major

Biological Sciences


Ward-Ritacco, Christie, L

Advisor Department





Type-2 Diabetes, Exercise, Physical Activity, Exercise Adherence, Survey

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes. While some of these individuals will be prescribed medications as part of their treatment, most will also be advised to begin an exercise program to assist with blood glucose control. Additionally, while regular exercise is associated with lower HbA1C and decreased insulin/medication dependence, it is estimated that only about half of those diagnosed with diabetes will adhere to their exercise plans. Social, psychological, and physiological factors all play roles in affecting ones ability to adhere to an exercise regiment, and individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) may be particularly prone to drop out due to increased pain and discomfort resulting from diabetes related outcomes, including peripheral neuropathy, connective tissue glycosylation, altered joint mechanics, and increased reliance on anaerobic metabolism. Therefore, this study examined individuals with T2DM in order to assess the associations between effects of T2DM pathophysiology and exercise adherence. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected using an in-person focus group (n=3, all female, 61.5+6.6 yrs), individual phone interviews (n=5, 3 female, 56.8+7.8 yrs) and an electronically distributed survey (n=9, 67% male, 33% female, 52+23 yrs). In those who exercise regularly, the most common reasons for continuing to be active included: 1) genuine enjoyment of their chosen physical activity, 2) increased feelings of energy, and 3) weight loss. The most common reasons cited for poor exercise adherence were: 1) bodily pain related to T2DM neuropathy, 2) feelings of fatigue, and 3) lack of motivation. Participants also noted that having a tailored exercise experience would help to increase exercise adherence. This valuable information can be used to better develop intervention and outreach programs geared towards increasing exercise adherence in individuals with T2DM.