How exercise can help you control Diabetes

If you have developed type 2 diabetes you will have been told by your consultant to exercise; to help control your blood sugars how and where do you start to exercise if you have not been doing it for a long time?

You should always check with your GP for any conditions to take into consideration, high blood pressure, reduced mobility, any neuropathy are all factors you need to consider before you start to exercise. Once given the all clear to exercise; us as exercise professionals will help you to modify any activities to a suitable level keeping you safe but still allow you to exercise normally.

Before you start it helps I find to understand why exercising is so important to you in your situation. You will already understand that your body is not using insulin effectively to reduce your blood sugars to a safe level and will have been provided with medication and possibly insulin to take to help this process of control.

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can over time lead to more serious conditions caused by nerve damage, eye disease and heart disease etc.; all of these can be influenced by you exercising. Your muscles will use up blood sugars stored in your muscles and cells while you are exercising helping to maintain safe glucose levels.

Other benefits of you exercising regularly include:

Improves blood pressure

Boost your good cholesterol (HDL)

Strengthen your muscles

Strengthen your bones to reduce any risk of osteoporosis especially in women

Reduce your body fat

How do you start then?

The simplest way to start is to walk, it cost you nothing but time, this time, is a big investment in improving your lifestyle with these benefits:

Increased energy levels

Helps to reduce your stress level

Helps you to sleep better

Boosts your good mood!

There are many ways to exercise and way’s you can fit activity into your daily routine. To succeed, you have to be committed.

Decide on an activity you will enjoy, this helps you to keep going, next plan to walk for a few minutes every day, around a park where you can meet other people it’s always nice to say hello most people walking love to be friendly. When you get back; try some light stretching good for improving flexibility and tone as well as being relaxing.

Consider joining a fitness centre to attend light exercise classes and speak to a trainer to advise you on a set of strength exercises to hep you improve your strength; this is also a very effective way to improve fat loss.

You can use your own body weight in exercises but I recommend being advised on good technique to reduce any risk of injury due to poor technique. Start out with no additional weights and concentrate on pushing or pulling your body up and lifting your arms over your head several times for 15 – 30 minutes.

You can find ideas on motivation and exercises and how to start out in this book; if you digital_book_thumbnailneed additional support I can offer consultations or full personal training options for you.

Precautions when exercising, as mentioned here your body is going to use up sugar in your muscles when you first start exercising you need to work out what effect your activity has on your sugar level, to avoid becoming hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) which can lead to you passing out. Always have a carbohydrate snack or drink to hand when you need it. When you first start to exercise; check your blood sugar level before and after exercise until you feel confident with your sugar level control.

Your emergency food should be fast acting

Your emergency food should be fast acting when you need it so a supply of glucose tablets, fruit, fruit juice or banana

If you BS is below 5.5 mmol have a snack before you exercise

After your exercise; check your level if it has dropped below 4mmol have another snack.

Further advice on diabetes can be read here.

Additional references

  • American Diabetes Association.  Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2009. Diabetes Care. 2009;32:S13-61.
  • Becker G. Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the newly Diagnosed. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Marlowe & Company; 2007.
  • McCulloch D. Patient information: Diabetes type 2: Overview. Up-to-date Web site. January 30, 2009. Available at: Accessed April 20, 2009.
  • McCulloch D. Patient information: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Overview. Up-to-date Web site. December 4, 2008. Available at:

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