Exercises for Diabetics

Posted by Meghan Orner on November 06, 2015

Exercises for Diabetics

It should come as no surprise that regular exercise goes a long way in promoting one’s health, and this is especially true for diabetics. Even though exercise comes with some serious health benefits for those with diabetes, only 39 percent of diabetics exercise regularly. With that being said, some exercises are better for diabetics than others, which is why we’ve outlined the top six exercises for diabetics.

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Top 6 Exercises

1. Walking: Even though walking seems to have some specific benefits for those with type 2 diabetes, walking is one of the best exercises for anyone, regardless if they have diabetes or not. Brisk walking raises your heart rate, making it an aerobic exercise and one of the most prescribed exercises for diabetics.

2. Tai Chi: Also called “meditation in motion,” tai chi is not only a great workout, but it also reduces stress levels as it involves a series of slow movements and breathing techniques. Tai chi also reduces one’s risk of falling, a common risk for those with diabetes.

3. Weight Training: We all lose muscle mass as we age, but this can be especially risky for diabetics since the more muscle you lose, the harder it is to maintain blood sugar. Luckily, weight training is one of easiest ways to prevent this muscle loss. Strive to do weight training three days a week, but make sure you don’t do these exercises two days in a row – rest is just as important for your body as weight training. 

4. Yoga: Yoga is very similar to tai chi as it helps reduce stress, but it does come with its own benefits. For those with type 2 diabetes, yoga fights insulin resistance, lowers body fat and improves nerve function. Perhaps one of the best things about yoga is that unlike weight training, there’s no limit as to how often you can strike a yoga pose.

5. Swimming: Similar to walking, swimming is another great aerobic exercise, but an added benefit with swimming is that it puts very little pressure on your joints. Whether you swim in an indoor or outdoor pool, we recommend purchasing a pair of water shoes to wear in and around the pool to reduce your risk of slipping and scraping your feet.

6. Cycling: There’s certainly a pattern here revealing that aerobic exercises are the best exercises for those with diabetes, and cycling is another one to add to the list. Stationary bicycles are weather-proof and completely get rid of the fear of losing one’s balance. A few added bonuses: cycling strengthens your heart, lungs and blood flow to your legs.

Top 4 Exercise Tips

Even though exercise benefits diabetics, it’s important that you follow these tips before you begin any exercise routine to make sure you’re exercising correctly and not jeopardizing your health:

1. Speak with your doctor first. Even though the exercises listed above are the best exercises for diabetics, that does not mean that every one of these exercises are best for everyone with diabetes. Your doctor will be able to help you determine which exercise will be best for you.

2. Check your blood sugar levels. To reduce your risk of experiencing a fall or dizzy spell, check your levels before, during and after exercising.

3. Exercise often. Experts suggest that anyone with diabetes should exercise at least three days a week or for 150 minutes a week, and you shouldn’t go more than two days without exercising.

4. Moderation is key. Even though regular exercise is important, accepting your limitations is just as important. Overdoing your exercise routine will only prove to be counterproductive. 


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