It is important to exercise regularly when you have diabetes
Regular physical activity is an important part of your diabetes care along with proper meal planning, taking medications as prescribed and managing stress.
When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin and are better able to take up glucose from your blood for energy. The contraction of your muscles also triggers your cells to take up glucose without the need for insulin.
This is why regular physical activity can lower blood glucose and improve your
HbA1C. When your HbA1C becomes lower, you may be able to take fewer diabetes pills or reduce the amount of insulin you need.
Leading a physically active lifestyle has many benefits for you, it:
The good news is, you don’t have to exercise long and hard to enjoy these benefits.
For example, if you have
diabetic retinopathy (a type of diabetic eye disease), avoid weight lifting and high impact activities (e.g. aerobics, football) that may cause bleeding inside your eyeball and make your eye problem worse.
First 5 to 10 minutes
Warm up with an aerobic activity at low intensity level (e.g. walking)
At least 10 minutes
Engage in moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise of at least 10 minutes per day, with a total of 150 minutes per week. Spread your activity over the week and try not to go more than two days in a row without exercising.
If you’ve not been exercising for a while, start with ten-minute bouts and slowly build up from there.
For example, take a brisk ten minute walk after your lunch. Or try doing 15 minutes of aerobics in the morning before work and another 15 minutes when you get home.
In addition to aerobics, do some type of strength training activity at least twice a week. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn even when you are at rest.
Final 5 to 10 minutes
Cool down to bring your heart rate back to the pre-exercise level.
Decide to be more active today. All you need is a pair of running shoes. Start with small and achievable goals, such as taking a ten-minute walk each day, and gradually build up from there.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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National Diabetes Reference Materials
- An initiative under the War on Diabetes
Find out more about pre-diabetes, diabetes and how you can prevent them by making some changes to your lifestyle.
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