Best Exercises for Managing Diabetes

Before starting any new activity or exercise routine, check in with your doctor or Care Team. Don’t be shy to mention the kickboxing or that Zumba class you’ve always wanted to try! Your Care Team will provide safe exercise and preparation guidance specific to your needs.

Step 1: Check your blood glucose level before and after you exercise. This will encourage you by revealing the positive effects of exercise on your body. Smile—all your physical efforts are paying off! Become familiar with your unique blood sugar patterns, to help keep you balanced and safe. If you see anything out of range or are confused by a reading, reach out to your Care Team.

Step 2: Eat right for your body. We all respond differently to exercise. A general rule of thumb is to eat before, during, and after exercise, to make sure your blood sugar levels are not too high or low. A good pre-workout snack is 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter and an apple. During your workout, dried fruit is easy to pack in your gym bag. You should eat a meal within an hour after completing your workout, and if needed you can grab a protein bar with a good carb profile for an immediate post-workout snack.

Step 3: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate… Always drink water before, during, and after exercise. As you increase your activity, it’s important to increase the amount of water you drink through the day to stay hydrated.

Now that you are ready to get moving, here are some safe and fun exercises to try.


woman wearing black fitness outfit performs yoga near body of waterA regular yoga routine increases flexibility, reduces stress and inflammation, improves balance, and lifts your state of mind. Yoga makes you feel good physically and emotionally, more relaxed and more aware of your body. It also helps pancreatic function, which improves insulin production. 


Man on the exercise bikesA low-impact cardiovascular workout, biking builds strength in muscles and bones, flexibility, and joint mobility. You can also use a stationary bike and listen to your favorite music while pedaling away the minutes.


Kickboxing Class

 You can choose a group class at your local gym, like Zumba, or ask your spouse or friend to take dance lessons together. Dancing is a total-body workout that helps control blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol. It involves movement in all directions, while also spiking energy, buoying mood, and lowering stress. 


swimmingSwimming is a great cardio workout with zero pressure on your joints and natural resistance from the water.  Swimming uses both upper and lower body muscles, decreasing blood pressure, improving heart and lung function, and reducing cholesterol. Try swimming laps for ten minutes or a water aerobics class.

Resistance Training

Athletes exercising with resistance band in gym

Resistance training focuses on building muscle. strength. Lighter dumbbells or exercise bands are used to build upper and lower body strength. Or, try lifting canned goods at home. Studies show that both aerobic and resistance training improve blood sugar control and including both is much more effective than only one.

Do you already have a favorite go-to activity? Share it with us, so we all can discover new ways to stay active.

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