Diabetes and Exercise

Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes. It can help to:

  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications
  • Help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve your mood and energy levels
  • Increase your muscle mass and strength
  • Improve your flexibility and range of motion

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults with diabetes get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. They also recommend that adults with diabetes do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.

Some examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include:

  • Walking briskly
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Water aerobics
  • Jumping rope

Some examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities include:

  • Running
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing basketball
  • Hiking
  • Tae kwon do

If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of your activity. It is also important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Here are some tips for exercising safely with diabetes:

  • Check your blood sugar before, during, and after exercise.
  • Eat a snack or meal before exercising if your blood sugar is low.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activity.
  • Stop exercising if you feel pain, dizziness, or nausea.

Exercise is a safe and effective way to manage diabetes. Talk to your doctor about how much and what type of exercise is right for you.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when exercising with diabetes:

  • If you take insulin, you may need to adjust your insulin dose before or after exercise.
  • If you have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), you may need to eat a snack or drink juice before or during exercise.
  • If you have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), you may need to delay exercise until your blood sugar comes down.
  • If you have any health problems, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

With careful planning and monitoring, exercise can be a safe and effective way to manage diabetes and improve your overall health.


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