What type of exercise can help improve my diabetes?

Eric Olsen
Fitness Specialist

People with diabetes will want to be very active, as exercise is one of the most effective means of controlling the condition, but they should be very careful of their feet and evaluate activities with the health of their feet in mind. Swimming is an ideal activity for most, but those who have diabetes should be wary of barefoot journeys through locker rooms and the increased risk of infection from unsanitary floors. Running or walking are excellent, but beware of blisters from ill-fitting shoes.

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

More About this Book

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

Workouts don't have to feel like work to help control diabetes. Try skating, a Zumba class, salsa dance lessons or all three to spice up your workouts and use your muscles in new, fun ways. Think back to activities you loved as a kid. Were you a double-dutch champ? Buy a jump rope and start skipping. If you have kids, get them exercising, too, by teaching them to hula hoop. Or, play fetch with your dog at a park, or just set up a Wii Fit system and choose your workout (or play date!).

A mix of cardio and strength training can help you manage your diabetes. In this video, Ronald Tamler, MD, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, discusses the benefits of exercise on diabetes.

There is not a specific form of exercise, which helps improve diabetes more than another. Any form of regular exercise will help improve or reverse diabetes. Exercise training is effective in controlling the two primary reasons for diabetes; weight and blood sugar levels. Exercise aids in blood sugar regulation because it has a similar action to insulin by enhancing the uptake of circulating glucose by exercising skeletal muscle. Research has shown that exercise improves a variety of glucose measures, including tissue sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance and even a decrease in insulin requirements. Regular exercise also helps weight loss, thus, exercise has been shown to have a substantial positive effect on the prevention of type 2 diabetes and control of type 1 diabetes.

Bob Greene
Bob Greene on behalf of The Best Life
Physiology Specialist

All types of exercise can help you better mange your diabetes. Both aerobic exercise (brisk walking, cycling, and other activities that get your heart rate up) and resistance training (lifting weights or using weight machines) help lower your blood sugar. And the combination, according to a study at the University of Ottawa Heart Research Institute in Canada, is even more effective than either one alone.

The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

More About this Book

The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Bob Greene has helped millions of Americans become fit and healthy with his life-changing Best Life plan. Now, for the first time, Oprah's trusted expert on diet and fitness teams up with a leading...

Continue Learning about Living with Diabetes

Stay Safe When Exercising With Diabetes
Stay Safe When Exercising With Diabetes
If you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, exercise is one of the best things you can do to offset diabetic damage to your heart and circulatory syst...
Read More
Can insulin therapy improve sex for women with type 2 diabetes?
You may have noticed changes in your libido and sexual life since your diagnosis of type 2 diabetes....
More Answers
What's Your Exercise Personality?
What's Your Exercise Personality?What's Your Exercise Personality?What's Your Exercise Personality?What's Your Exercise Personality?
 Find a workout routine you enjoy.
Start Slideshow
How Does an Insulin Pump Work?
How Does an Insulin Pump Work?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.