How to Create a Regular & Healthy Diabetes Exercise Routine


We all know that regular exercise keeps us fit and healthy and is good for people with diabetes. Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week helps keep blood sugars in control. Exercise is also great for weight loss and strong bones, improves heart health, helps ramp up energy levels and makes you feel better!

ADA recommendations

The ADA guidelines1 recommend that most adults with diabetes exercise daily if possible for better diabetes management. If you cannot exercise daily, try not to allow more than two days to elapse without performing some type of physical activity.

Below we look at some strategies for successfully adding exercise to your daily routine.

Make it a habit

Try and get at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity per week. This could be brisk walking, water aerobics, swimming or jogging. You will be surprised how quickly you can get to your 150 minute target!  And little changes will make a big difference. Try walking instead of using the car, get off the bus one stop before your destination, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Over time, you should progress to 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise if you can.

Mix it up

A mixture of aerobic and resistance exercise (also known as strength training) is the best for optimal health benefits and blood sugar control. Resistance training to build muscle strength has been found to increase insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes which improves blood sugar levels. Resistance training should be done about 2-3 times per week.

Move it

Break up sitting time every 30 minutes during the day. Recent research on exercise and diabetes stresses that breaking up time spent on a couch or at a desk with just “moving around” can have health benefits. Stand up, stretch, walk around– it’s good for your circulation. Incorporate flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga into your routine.

Make an appointment with your doctor before starting an exercise program. The type of exercise you can do will be based on your current state of health, and whether you have any underlying health issues that may prevent you from doing certain types of exercise. For example, if you have heart problems, your health care team may suggest that you walk instead of jog to keep your heart healthy and improve your heart function. In case you suffer from neuropathy in your feet, you will be given exercises that are “easier” on the feet to prevent foot injuries.

Medical Disclaimer
The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.

  2. Cooper AR et al. “Sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time and metabolic variables in people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.” Diabetologia. 2012; 55:589-599

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