Staying Active with Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which food is not properly used to absorb energy, and results in high amounts of sugar in the blood. Fortunately, diabetes can be managed with proper nutrition, medication, and physical activity.

Why is physical activity important?

Lifestyle changes, such as physical activity, that moderately decrease caloric intake and increase energy expenditure, are strongly encouraged for people who have diabetes. Regular physical activity has been shown to:

  • Improve blood glucose control
  • Reduce cardiovascular risk factors
  • Raise HDL “good” cholesterol and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol

How much should physical activity should you get?

Generally, 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity is recommended. Try breaking up physical activity into smaller time increments throughout the week. This could include vigorous walking, playing tennis, swimming, dancing, hiking, or other activities. The more fun and enjoyable the activity, the better!

Individuals with diabetes should also perform muscle resistance training at least two times per week. This could include using resistance bands, dumbbell weights, or weight machines.

Ask your healthcare provider before beginning any new type of exercise program if you have diabetes. If you’re not accustomed to physical activity, start slowly and gradually increase your time and intensity.  

Find ways to make physical activity a part of your routine for a healthier and more enjoyable life!