Exercise for Diabetics

Feel, look and live better

One might ask, ‘Why is physical activity so important?’, apart from being a natural mood lifter after a stressful day.

Well, here’s why! Staying healthy is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. Physical activities aren’t just for athletes or those who’re trying to stay fit, but for people with diabetes or as a matter of fact anyone who would like to stay healthy!

There are added benefits for diabetics to why regular exercising is vital. Being active can help them have control over their general wellbeing, which includes:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Countering insulin resistance.
  • Strengthening muscles and bones.
  • Boosting body’s sensitivity to insulin.
  • Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
  • Boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Lower harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

‘Physical activities aren’t just for athletes or those who’re trying to stay fit, but for people with diabetes or as a matter of fact anyone who would like to stay healthy!’

If you have diabetes then you should definitely consider working out. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the goal is to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.

The good news is, it’s not that hard to stay active. Here are four workouts that can easily be included into your daily routine.

#1 Yoga

Regular exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle and yoga can be one of the best forms of workout. Yoga has been practiced for over thousands of years and has gained popularity in recent years. Yoga is more than relaxing your body and mind, especially if you’re living with type 2 diabetes. Certain postures can help lower blood pressure, sugar level as well as improve blood circulation in your body. Some of the poses are: 

  • Legs-up-the-wall pose
  • Reclining bound angle pose
  • Seated forward bend
  • Supported shoulderstand

Other benefits from doing yoga includes:

  • Lowering stress levels
  • Boosting emotional well-being
  • Boosting a person’s strength, flexibility and balance

Editor’s Note: Yoga is a great form of exercise for people of all fitness levels. However, we recommend that you avoid trying the yoga poses mentioned without prior training or knowledge on yoga.

#2 Brisk Walking

You definitely do not need a gym membership or expensive equipment to get moving. All you need is a pair of shoes with good support and a safe place to walk like the park close to your home. According to a study on type 2 diabetes and physical activity, physical activity improves glycemic control and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Here are some simple ways to increase the amount of walking daily:

  • Deliberately park your car further away from your destination.
  • Use the stairs whenever you can.
  • Take a break in between your work and go for a short stroll.
  • Go for a 30 minutes brisk walk after eating for at least five days a week.

#3 Tai Chi

Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese tradition that’s easy to learn and is often described as ‘meditation in motion’. Numerous studies have shown that Tai Chi improves muscular strength, flexibility, relieves pain and improves quality of life. According to the Journal of Diabetes Research (2018), it has concluded that Tai Chi is in fact an effective form of exercise for people living with type 2 diabetes to help manage their blood glucose level. 

Apart from that, it also helps to reduce one’s risk from developing neuropathy. Neuropathy is the damage or dysfunction of one or more nerves in the body that typically results in numbness, tingling sensation, muscle weakness that usually starts at the hands or feet.

#4 Zumba 

We’re pretty sure this will get you pumped with energy and burning calories. According to the a study by the American Diabetes Association on diabetics and physical activity, it stated that physical activity should be the centre of attention among individuals with diabetes and pre-diabetes as well as to manage blood glucose levels. Apart from managing diabetes, it also aids in weight loss. 

Zumba, is another type of physical activity that is suitable for all ages! Dance to great music with great people and burn a ton of calories by signing up for Zumba classes. As a result of that, you’ll be able to meet your workout goals.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about joining a class, you can always do Zumba in the comfort of your own home through an online Zumba class. One of the greatest things about practicing Zumba at home is that you can workout at your own pace and modify the movements that suit you well. Plus, it’s easy to learn.

Before you start any workout regimen, be sure to check with your healthcare professional and get some advice on what exercise best suits you and what you should do when your blood sugar level is too high or too low.


When to monitor blood sugar?

Firstly, before jumping into any fitness routine, it is crucial to keep track of your blood sugar level before and after any activities. By doing so, you’ll be aware of how your body responds to the exercise and help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations. If at times you feel lightheaded while working out, stop for a moment and check your sugar level. Stop exercising if your blood sugar level is 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) or lower. 

Eat or drink something sweet such as glucose tablets, fruits or fruit juice to raise your blood sugar level. After 15 minutes, recheck your blood sugar and if it’s still too low, immediately check in with your doctor.

Sources: Everyday’s Health, Healthline, Harvard Health Publishing