Diabetes & Exercise


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Most people find physical activity improves their feelings of wellness and vitality. It also helps in managing stress.

Physical activity makes your body’s cells more sensitive to the action of insulin.

Your body remains more sensitive to insulin for up to 24 hours after physical activity. You may need to reduce your post physical activity insulin and / or eat more carbohydrates following physical activity.

The key to managing physical activity safely with  diabetes, is to monitor your blood glucose frequently and use this information to adjust your food and physical activity accordingly.

Avoid injecting pre-physical activity insulin into any area of working muscle (it may get absorbed much more quickly than usual if you do).

There are risks to physical activity. You should have a thorough medical check and consult with your diabetes specialist team before starting a physical activity routine.

Keeping up a physical activity schedule if you have  diabetes is a challenge for your diabetes management skills.

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How can physical activity help me take care of my diabetes?​

Physical -Activity -Diabetes

http://What I Need to Know About Physical Activity and Diabetes


Physical activity and keeping a healthy weight can help you take care of your diabetes and prevent diabetes problems. Physical activity helps your blood glucose,also called blood sugar, stay in your target range.

Physical activity also helps the hormone insulin absorb glucose into all your body’s cells, including your muscles, for energy. Muscles use glucose better than fat does. Building and using muscle through physical activity can help prevent high blood glucose. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or if the insulin doesn’t work the way it should, the body’s cells don’t use glucose. Your blood glucose levels then get too high, causing diabetes.

Starting a physical activity program can help you lose weight or keep a healthy weight and keep your blood glucose levels on target. Even without reaching a healthy weight, just a 10 or 15 pound weight loss makes a difference in reducing the risk of diabetes problems.

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What should I do before I start a physical activity program?

Before you start a physical activity program, you should

talk with your health care team

plan ahead

find an exercise buddy

decide how you’ll track your physical activity

decide how you’ll reward yourself

Talk with your health care team.

Your health care team may include a doctor, nurse, dietitian, diabetes educator, and others. Always talk with your health care team before you start a new physical activity program. Your health care team will tell you a target range for your blood glucose levels.

People with diabetes who take insulin or certain diabetes medicines are more likely to have low blood glucose, also called hypoglycaemia. If your blood glucose levels drop too low, you could pass out, have a seizure, or go into a coma. Physical activity can make hypoglycemia more likely or worse in people who take insulin or certain diabetes medicines, so planning ahead is key. It’s important to stay active. Ask your health care team how to stay active safely.

Physical activity works together with healthy eating and diabetes medicines to prevent diabetes problems. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes who lose weight with physical activity and make healthy changes to their eating plan are less likely to need diabetes and heart medicines. Ask your health care team about your healthy eating plan and all your medicines. Ask if you need to change the amount of medicine you take or the food you eat before any physical activity.


Talk with your health care team about what types of physical activity are safe for you, such as walking, weightlifting, or housework. Certain activities may be unsafe for people who have low vision or have nerve damage to their feet.

My father Jed had diabetic neuropathy which is extremely painful!

He was a strong minded man who rarely complained even though he was in agony sometimes!

He was the type of man who tried to hide his illness from my mother Mary and us three children!

He never liked going to the doctor and refused to go even though he was feeling very ill before he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes!

It is very important to make an appointment straight away to see your doctor if you are feeling unwell especially if you have a chronic illness like diabetes as it can often lead to serious complications like diabetic neuropathy if you dont get an early diagnosis!

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Plan ahead.

Decide in advance what type of physical activity you’ll do. Before you start, also choose:

the days and times you’ll be physically active

the length of each physical activity session

your plan for warming up, stretching, and cooling down for each physical activity session

a backup plan, such as where you’ll walk if the weather is bad

how you will measure your progress

To make sure you stay active, find activities you like to do. If you keep finding excuses not to be physically active, think about why.

Find an exercise buddy.


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Many people find they are more likely to be physically active if someone joins them. Ask a friend or family member to be your exercise buddy.

When you do physical activities with a buddy you may find that you:

enjoy the company

stick to the physical activity plan

are more eager to do physical activities

Being active with your family may help everyone stay at a healthy weight. Keeping a healthy weight may prevent them from developing diabetes or prediabetes. Prediabetes is when the amount of glucose in your blood is above normal yet not high enough to be called diabetes.

Decide how you’ll track your physical activity.

Write down your blood glucose levels and when and how long you are physically active in a record book. You’ll be able to track your progress and see how physical activity affects your blood glucose.

Decide how you’ll reward yourself.

Reward yourself with a nonfood item or activity when you reach your goals. For example, treat yourself to a movie or a book or buy a new plant for the garden.

What kinds of Physical Activity Can Help Diabetics?




Many kinds of physical activity can help you take care of your diabetes. Even small amounts of physical activity can help. You can measure your physical activity level by how much effort you use.

Doctors suggest that you aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week. Children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes who are 10 to 17 years old should aim for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.

Your health care team can tell you more about what kind of physical activity is best for you. They can also tell you when and how much you can increase your physical activity level.

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Light physical activity.


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Light activity is easy. Your physical activity level is light if you:

are breathing normally

are not sweating

can talk normally or even sing

Moderate physical activity.


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Moderate activity feels somewhat hard. Your physical activity level is moderate if you:

are breathing quickly, yet you’re not out of breath

are lightly sweating after about 10 minutes of activity

can talk normally, yet you can’t sing

Vigorous physical activity.




Vigorous, or intense, activity feels hard. Your physical activity level is vigorous if you:

are breathing deeply and quickly

are sweating after a few minutes of activity

can’t talk normally without stopping for a breath

Not all physical activity has to take place at the same time. You might take a walk for 20 minutes, lift hand weights for 10 minutes, and walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes.

Breaking the physical activity into different groups can help. You can:

do aerobic exercise

do strength training to build muscle

do stretching exercises

add extra activity to your daily routine

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Aerobic Exercises





How much exercise is right for you? For people with diabetes  150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week is recommended.

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Strength Training For Diabetics

Strength Training for Fat Loss

Strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body. It’s a key part of any fitness plan.

Don’t belong to a gym with weight machines? No problem! You can use hand-held weights, resistance bands, or even your own body weight to build muscle.

It’s never too late to start. As you age, strength training (also called resistance training), can help you keep doing everyday activities such as walking, lifting things, and climbing stairs. Plus, it’s good for your bones.

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Motivated to add strength training to your fitness routine, but not sure how? Here’s how to get started.

Stretching Exercises


Stretch early, stretch often. Stretching, in addition to regular physical activity, may help the body control blood glucose and respond to insulin by improving circulation. Feel better throughout your day by starting off with these 8 simple stretches.

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Balance Exercises

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Building balance helps you stay steady on your feet and can reduce your risk for falling and injuring yourself. Balance exercises are especially important for older adults to incorporate into their exercise routine. Examples of balance exercises include:

Walking backwards or sideways

Walking heel to toe in a straight line

Standing on one leg at a time

Standing from a sitting position

Both lower body and core muscle strength training also help improve balance.


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Exercise, or physical activity, includes anything that gets you moving, such as walking, dancing, or working in the yard. Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes.That doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon or bench-press 300 pounds. The goal is to get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy, from gardening to playing tennis to walking with friends.

Be More Active Throughout the Day

In addition to formal aerobic exercise and strength training, there are many chances to be active throughout the day.

Remember – the more you move, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to keep your blood glucose levels in on target!

More and more research is finding that sitting too much for long periods of time is harmful to our health.

Just getting up once an hour to stretch or walk around the office is better than sitting for hours on end in a chair. Take every opportunity you can to get up and move.

Here are just a few ways you can do it:

At Work

Take the stairs instead of the elevator at the office and in the parking garage

Get up once an hour while you are at work and take a quick walk around your office

Stand up and stretch at your desk

If you go out for lunch, walk to the restaurant

If you take public transportation to work, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to your office

Use a speaker or mobile phone so you can pace around your office during conference calls

Try some chair exercises during the day while at your desk

Fidget (when appropriate) – tap or wiggle your foot while working at your desk

At Home

Take the dog for a walk around the block

Do your own yard work such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves

Do your own housework such as vacuuming, dusting, or washing dishes

Play with the kids – play catch or throw the Frisbee around

Walk in place during the commercials of your favorite television show

Carry things upstairs or from the car in two trips instead of one

Walk around the house or up and down stairs while you talk on the phone

While You’re Out and About

Park at the far end of the shopping center lot and walk to the store

Walk down every aisle of the grocery store

If you are at the airport and waiting for a flight, walk up and down through the terminal

When on a road trip, stop every few hours to stretch and walk around

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For more great Health and Nutrition Tips refer to the website positivehealthwellness.com.

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Leave below any comments or information you have on the above topics.

Or send an email to momo19@diabetessupportsite.com.

All feedback is welcome.

19 thoughts on “Diabetes & Exercise”

  1. For many diseases including diabetes and high blood pressure, exercising seems to be a good choice to keep the diseases in check.
    I work in a hospital setting, so I come across many patients including diabetes patients. Many are able to control their condition with only exercises and minimal metformin, without having to take insulin injections at all.

    • Hi Edward,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

      Exercise in conjugation with taking the correct prescribed medication and healthy eating all have their roles in maintaining good diabetic management.

  2. Excellent information! I did not know that muscle absorbed insulin better than fat. I do agree, however, that proper diet and exercise is key to maintaining a healthy body in any condition, and is especially important for diabetics. I have an Aunt who is diabetic and she does so much better when she keeps up her regular exercise program. I am going to forward your information to her as the exercises you give should be very helpful to her. She gets tired of just walking and, as you said, sometimes you can’t go outside to exercise. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Hi Debby,

      I am very happy that you found the information in this post helpful.

      Thanks for all your encouraging comments. I plan to include a lot more topics on diabetes in this website I hope you will find them interesting so please view this site again.

  3. Wow! That’s a lot of good information on the benefits of exercise for diabetes patients. I plan to share this with a friend who has been diagnosed with diabetes.

    Could you let me know what exercises you’d recommend for a woman in her late 70’s who has trouble walking due to severe arthritis? I’d appreciate your input.

    • Hi Christine,

      Its great that you found this post useful and please do share the information with your friend.

      There are a few type of exercises i would recommend for an older lady with arthritis.

      Pilates is a terrific way to strengthen the most important muscles in the body (the core) in a low-impact, safe manner.Pilates is safe for the joints and can help improve body mechanics.

      With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, easing arthritis pain. For people with the most severe arthritis in their hip or knee, swimming can be done with a pull-bouy to give you a good cardiovascular workout without placing any burden on your hip or knees.

      Cycling is one of my favorite recommendations, because not only is this a low-impact way to exercise, but the cyclic motion of cycling is stimulating for the cartilage within a joint.Start off with a stationary cycling bike, and move outdoors as you get stronger.

  4. Hi,

    Great information on how to help persons with diabetes and even those who which to prevent it. I have discovered that exercise with a balance diet can help to improve and extend people’s life span.

    I love the simple steps that can be taken when at home to keep the joins and muscles working. Wonderful, continue to inform with your writing.

    • Hi Ingrid,

      It’s great that you found the post interesting.

      A lot of the exercises are simple,fun to do,and brilliant health benefits!

  5. Hi there Momo,

    Mom is a diabetic but she is also very bad on her knees which makes simple exercise like walking a very challenging task. Despite medication, her glucose level is still on the high side and the doctor advises her to sweat more.

    What kind of upper body exercise that is suitable for a 70 year old woman with diabetes? I would appreciate some helpful tip from you.


    • Hi Cathy,

      Sorry to hear your mom has difficulty walking.I have a few suggestions i hope will help her.

      Arm raise : While sitting down and holding light hand weights, have your mom raise her arms at the same time, holding them straight out, then sideways. She should hold the position for one second and then slowly lower her arms to repeat, and do 8 to 15 repetitions. The back should remain flat against the chair and the feet flat on the floor.

      Bicep curls : While she is in a seated position and holding a light hand weight,have your mom raise and lower one arm at a time to curl the bicep up. Hold it for one second and slowly lower, then do 8 to 15 repetitions.

      Tricep extension: In the same seated position as the others, have your mom gently lower the weight behind her back, while using her other hand to support her arm. Hold it for one second and then slowly lower it, and repeat with 8 to 15 repetitions. The opposite arm should always support the one with the weight that is going toward the back.

      Hope these excercises help to bring down your moms glucose levels.

  6. Its a great site! A lot fo great information, easy to navigate your site! It’s simple and great, the pictures help, I’m going to the gym, and I think you should put some picture for gym exercises. Like: Standing Calf Raises, Hamstring Stretch. It might be obvious for me now. But in the beginning, I use to to online to make sure i was doing the right movement to not hurt myself. I personally think i would help 🙂

    • Hi Jo,

      Thanks so much for all your positive comments about this website.Also I really appreciate your input on how to improve this post and I will be following your advice and will input more pictures for the gym exercises.

      Thanks again for your help.

  7. One should never let any disease take your spirit down especially diabetes. I also think that exercise can help with the glucose balance in the bloodstream.

    My heart goes out to the people that are struggling with diabetes and I really wish that there was a cure for it. Sometimes just a simply activity as walking can have a major benefit for your health.

    • Hi Viljoen,

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment in this post.

      Yes i totally agree with you exercise is great for everyone especially people with diabetes.

      It helps one lose weight,increases insulin sensitivity and makes you feel more happy and positive about life!

  8. I used to have diabetes and I was able to reverse it by eating the right foods and working with my primary care physician to come up with a good exercise plan that would work for me. It was especially challenging to work out with my doctor an exercise plan that would help lose weight while still managing my diabetes because I also have asthma.

    As you suggested in your article, walking was a great exercise for me because it was not too strenuous which would be harmful to me but also helped with my strength and muscle development.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Really appreciate you took the time to leave a comment in this post.

      Thats really great news that you were able to reverse your type 2 diabetes with a healthy diet and exercise.

      Well done!

  9. I really like this site because for me its a bit personal. I have family members that have diabetes and it has taken its toll. My grandmother had diabetes and unfortunately it was one of the things that killed her. Keep up the good work and continue to offer support to the people who have diabetes.

    • Hi Alexsis,

      Thanks for your encouraging comments about this site.

      So sorry to hear the sad news about your grandmother.

      Please let your family members with diabetes know about this website as they could find it a helpful resource.

  10. Interesting article for diabetics to read and learn to manage their diabetes much better, I learned many new things about diabetes from your article today.

    Diet and exercise is important for our bodies to function at their best, both of these we need to learn to manage as well as possible to feel our best.

    Very beneficial you sharing some good exercises to get someone started.


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