Type 2 Diabetes Guide

Diabetes and Exercise Tips

A comprehensive treatment plan is required for people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and exercise is an important part of .

Benefits of Exercise

  • Helps to regulate blood sugar levels;
  • Improves cholesterol levels;
  • Lowers blood pressure;
  • Improves circulation;
  • Helps to prevent additional weight gain and can help you to lose weight too ( can help to improve your body's sensitivity to insulin);
  • Makes you feel like you have more energy;
  • Acts as a natural mood enhancer.

Engaging in Regular Exercise

The goal is to safely engage in moderate exercise, all or most days of the week. Keeping a regular routine makes it easier to manage as well as any or insulin you may be taking. This will help to avoid the chance of experiencing (low blood sugar) or (high blood sugar). Try not to skip workouts or exercise at an increased intensity for long durations. Any changes in your exercise schedule or intensity should be discussed with your doctor just in case your medications or insulin need to be adjusted. Don't skip meals, either, as this also affects blood sugar levels.

It's tempting to ask what type of exercise is "best", but it's different for everyone. In general, the best exercise is one that you can do for a reasonable amount of time and one that you'll stick with. If, for example, you really hate running, then it's not the best exercise for you because it's likely that you'll give up. Pick activities that you enjoy (or at least can tolerate well) and can stick with over the long-term.

Diabetics should consult with their doctors prior to beginning an exercise routine. Because , it's important to talk to your doctor first since some types of exercises may not be appropriate for everyone.

Exercise Variety

If your image of "exercise" is trudging along on a treadmill, there's good news -- there are many more interesting and fun ways to get exercise. Here are just a few examples:

  • Go for a brisk walk on nature trails or in parks;
  • Go for a hike in the country;
  • Roller-blading;
  • Swimming or aqua-sports;
  • Aerobics or water-aerobics;
  • Rowing;
  • Kick-boxing;
  • Biking / cycling - or use an exercise bike in the comfort of your home (the traditional upright bike, or a recumbent bike which many people find more comfortable);
  • Yoga, pilates, or tai-chi;
  • Take an exercise class - sometimes being a part of a group is more motivating and fun than doing it yourself;
  • Join a fun sports league. Try volleyball, baseball, or join a hiking group. Knowing that others are depending on you might give that extra little push to make sure you actually get out and exercise;
  • In the winter, try ice-skating, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing.
  • Prefer to exercise in the privacy of your home? Pick up an exercise video. Try something new like yoga, tai chi, dance, or zumba,

Strength (weights or exercise bands) and flexibility training (stretching) should be incorporated into your exercise routine as well.

Some diabetics have . If you are one of them, try to avoid exercises that put a lot of strain on your feet. Instead, choose an exercise like swimming or biking. Regardless of what form of exercise you pick, make sure you're wearing . Check for blisters or sores after you exercise and if need be, replace your shoes. Wounds heal more slowly in diabetics so it's important to practice good .

Finally, make sure you check your before and after exercise. Know the signs of so that you can recognize them if they begin to occur while you're working out. Have a snack on hand just in case.

There are many components to a treatment for diabetes, and exercise is an integral part of that. Regular exercise has numerous health benefits in addition to simply controlling blood glucose levels.

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The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience, and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual situation should be directed to your doctor.