Type 2 diabetes and exercise

Exercise is any activity that gets your body moving. It helps you stay healthy. It helps prevent problems such as heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes.

What are the benefits of exercise?

  • Improves your blood sugar
  • Controls your weight
  • Lowers the level of bad cholesterol
  • Raises the level of good cholesterol
  • Lowers your blood pressure

Appropriate type and amount of exercise

There are three types of exercise you can do to help your diabetes.

  1. Aerobic exercise is good for your heart.
  2. Strength training helps you build muscle.
  3. Flexibility and balance exercise lowers your risk of injury.

Exercise at least every two days

  • Aerobic exercise three to five days a week
  • Strength training two to three days a week
  • Flexibility and balance training two to three days a week

If you sit for long amounts of time, every 30 minutes do three minutes of

  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Light activities, such as leg lifts, arm stretches, desk chair swivels, torso twists, side lunges, or walking in place

Aerobic exercise

Do 150 minutes a week of activities like

  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Golfing (walking and carrying clubs)
  • Light gardening or yard work
  • Running or jogging
  • Swimming laps
  • Walking (3.5 miles per hour)

Strength training

Do 60 minutes a week of activities that exercise upper and lower body muscles. Try doing 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise three times. 

  • Push-ups
  • Resistance bands
  • Sit-ups
  • Weight machines
  • Weight-lifting (dumbbells and barbells)
  • Certain types of yoga

Flexibility and balance  

  • Light stretches  
  • Pilates  
  • Tai Chi  
  • Yoga

Steps to get started with exercsie

  • Talk with your doctor.
  • Start slow and build up your routine little by little.
  • Set a goal.
Last reviewed: 
September 2018

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