Great Exercises For Patients With Type 2 Diabetes

Picture of an obese man with type 2 diabetes doing exercises to lose weight

If your doctor has diagnosed you with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, he or she has probably informed you about the importance of exercising for your health management and treatment plan. As well as your diet and sleeping habits, of course.

Exercising helps to improve your body’s control of blood glucose and weight. It can also reduce your risk of coronary disease, nerve damage and vision problems which are often associated with diabetes.

In many cases, a combination of a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good lifestyle choices can reverse and even possibly eliminate the need for any medication. But you need discipline and resolve to maintain such results.

If you are unsure about how to start becoming active, here are some great exercise options that you can work into your daily routine. These workouts are perfect for patients who are still starting out their more active lifestyle.


Illustration of a woman walking as exercise to lose weight

Walking is the most prescribed activity for people with type 2 diabetes, especially for those who have been sedentary for far too long. Walking is easy and it only requires a good pair of comfortable shoes. And it is enjoyable if you like a change of scenery.

When walking, walk with a purpose. This means you need to purposefully raise your heart rate by pacing yourself, do not walk too slowly. Brisk walking is a good beginner’s aerobic exercise and studies from medical journals show that aerobic activities at least three times a week for thirty to forty-five minutes a day show beneficial effects for diabetics.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also recommends that you should not do more than two consecutive days without any aerobic exercise session.

Weight Training

Though walking is a great exercise, it alone is not enough to reverse diabetes. Incorporating weight training helps build muscle mass which is an important aspect for controlling your blood sugar level.

Strong muscles collect nutrients from your bloodstream more efficiently. This lessens cardiac work and alleviates the strain on your heart. Gaining muscle mass will also help your body stay sensitive to insulin as it will use more energy from glucose when exercising with heavy weights, and therefore improve your weight control further.

To incorporate resistance training to your health management, you can sign up for a membership at your local gym or you could also hire a personal trainer if you have the budget for it.

Strength training three times a week is ideal but you should schedule a rest day in between those days as your muscles need to rest in order to grow. This will allow your body to repair itself until the next day’s strength training session.

Stationary Cycling

Riding the bicycle can be both fun and healthy. But if you are diabetic, it is better to opt for a stationary bike to prevent road injuries. On top of this, a stationary bike is ideal especially when the weather becomes unpredictable. You do not have to worry about slipping and falling, getting a flat tire, or catching a cold when the rain starts to pour down or watch for fast cars or dangerous drivers around you.

Another advantage of stationary cycling to patients who are at a more advanced diabetes stage is it improves the blood flow to the legs. It also burns more calories than brisk walking or jogging, so getting one at home is both convenient and useful.


Picture of Swimmer With Type 2 Diabetes Losing Weight

For obese or older diabetic patients who suffer from joint pain, swimming is the ideal aerobic exercise. Unlike walking or jogging, swimming does not put a lot of pressure on your joints and it is easier on your feet.

One caution to take note of is that dipping in water for a certain period of time can cause minor cuts and scrapes on your soles. For diabetics who suffer from neuropathy and have weaker sensations in their feet, this is a risk you must pay attention to.

Before swimming, make sure that you use special swimming shoes to prevent slipping or scraping your feet.


Scientific medical Studies show that yoga has several benefits among diabetes patients. It can fight insulin resistance, improve nerve function, reduce body fat and strengthen your muscles. A recent study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that depressive symptoms among adults with type 2 diabetes can lessen the problem by exercising. For obese patients, yoga is one of the best low-impact exercise forms.

There is no doubt that a consistent exercise routine is one of the vital and effective weapons for managing diabetes. To keep yourself safe, always consult your doctor about any physical activity you would like to try, as everyone is physically different.

After getting your physician’s approval, make sure that you wear your diabetes bracelet and always check your blood glucose level before and after exercising. And enjoy, as exercising can be a lot of fun if you find an activity that suits you.

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