A Complete Diabetes Exercise Plan – Best Exercises to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

Exercising is essential, whether you suffer from a health condition or not. It becomes even more critical if you have diabetes. But how do you squeeze exercise into your busy schedule? After all, you are neck-deep in the management of diabetes, the constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, the medications and the strict diet. These activities put physical activity at the bottom of the priority list. But exercise must be an integral part of your lifestyle. So, we have come up with a complete diabetes exercise plan to help you successfully manage the condition.

Diabetes and exercise

Exercise and type 2 diabetes are correlated. Regular physical activity can help you regulate blood sugar levels. It can also considerably lower the risk of conditions related to diabetes. So, if you have missed out on crafting an exercise plan, here’s the ultimate guide to exercising with diabetes. Without further ado, let us first understand the need for such a plan.

Why You Need a Diabetes Exercise Plan

As soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes, your attention immediately turns to your diet. Your doctor also advises you to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels. And even though health experts do stress the importance of exercise, it often takes a backseat.

You convince yourself by saying that I can keep the diseases at bay as long as I eat healthy and take my medicines, right? If you are among those who believe in this fallacy, it’s time to rethink your diabetes treatment plan.

High blood sugar is often accompanied by high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. All these factors contribute to an increase in heart disease and stroke risk. And physical activity can help you prevent the risks related to high blood sugar. Even slight weight loss can help improve your overall health. Many studies have shown the impact of exercise to prevent diabetes, as even moderate weight loss can lower the risk by up to 58%!

A 5 Step Guide to Diabetes Exercise Plan

The importance of exercise to reduce diabetes symptoms cannot be stressed enough. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you can’t wait to start eating healthy and working out. But you cannot eat or exercise as you wish. You need a proper diet and exercise plan because there are many factors that you need to consider. Suppose you are taking insulin or diabetes medication. Or you have any other health conditions. And also your fitness level.

Exercising with diabetes

Below is a type 2 diabetes exercise plan for managing the condition and staying safe in doing so.

1. Consult Your Doctor

If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you have certainly had a consultation with a doctor. The next step is to chart a detailed treatment process. Embarking on a treatment plan without a doctor’s advice can backfire, leading to unsavoury consequences. You need to sort many things before you jump on that treadmill.

Exercise can cause your blood sugar levels to drop too low if you are on diabetes medication or insulin. This is a factor you need to discuss with your doctor

You need to discuss the type of exercise suitable for you, the intensity and length of each workout session

Your doctor will advise you to consider other health factors such as heart disease or obesity before exercising

So, make sure you visit your doctor before starting a diet or exercise programme.

2. Get a Diet Plan Ready

A diabetes exercise plan is important, but so is a diet plan. Exercising without a proper diet plan will render your efforts useless. To see the best results, you must combine exercise with a healthy diet. Your diet has the greatest influence on your blood sugar levels.

Your food choice, how much you eat and the time you eat all play a crucial role. Apart from lowering blood sugar levels, a healthy diet will reduce your weight and lower the risk of other health conditions.

3.Begin with Basic Workouts

If you aren’t already physically active, start slow. Jumping headfirst into a new exercise regimen may cause injuries.

Basic workout for diabetes

It can also have a negative impact on your health if you suffer from other conditions such as heart disease. There are many ways to include physical activity without straining yourself much.

  • Take a short walk inside the house or outside; it does not have to be physically exerting
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Walk or stretch a little in between your work or during a commercial while watching TV
  • Limit the sedentary activities such as watching television
  • Take a walk or stretch during office breaks
  • Do more chores
  • Take some time to cycle

Once you get accustomed to the new routine and more physical activity, you can increase the intensity. You can now start jogging, brisk walking, swimming, yoga, or even dancing. After a while, you can start weight training and interval training.

Check your blood sugar levels before and after exercising. This helps you notice the impact of exercising and ensure that the blood sugar levels are not dangerously low.

4. Stick to the Routine

If starting an exercise regimen is difficult, sticking to it is even more challenging. You may be tempted to skip it occasionally or abandon it entirely. There are several ways through which you can keep yourself motivated and on the right track.

  • Plan your workout sessions, time, day and diet plan in advance
  • Maintain a log of your exercise session and the blood sugar level reading
  • Set goals, but make sure they are realistic
  • Do not push yourself too hard
  • Do not engage in exercises that you do not enjoy. Physical activity is the goal, not how you do it
  • If you are not a morning person, workout in the evening
  • Reward yourself on reaching a certain milestone
  • Wear comfortable clothes and accessories
  • Prepare a workout playlist to keep you interested and motivated

You can always get help from your family, friends, and certified trainers to keep yourself on track.

5. Take Necessary Precautions

While exercising can help you manage diabetes, it is important to take necessary precautions.

  • Get your doctor’s approval
  • Check your feet for blisters and sores before and after exercise
  • Carry some quick absorbing carbs for an emergency scenario when your blood sugar levels drop too low
  • Drink a lot of water before, during and after a workout
  • Check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise to see if it’s in the healthy range

Talk to your doctor to get a complete list of precautionary steps you need to take before starting your exercise programme. The positive effects of exercise on type 2 diabetes are well known. But what are the best exercises for someone with diabetes? Let’s find out!

Best Exercises for People With Diabetes

Doctors advise people to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise per week. But what type of exercise should you go for? Aerobic or strength training?

Studies suggest strength training can be more beneficial than aerobic exercise for diabetes. There are also experts who claim that more research needs to be done to prove this theory. But in the end, all that matters is that you exercise regularly, regardless of the type of activity.


Exercise for diabetes

There is no such thing as a perfect best workout for diabetics. The ultimate goal is to stay physically active, lose weight (if you are overweight), and lower your blood sugar levels. Here are some of the common and popular exercises you can engage in to control your blood sugar levels.

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Weight Training
  • Pilates
  • Dancing

You must first speak with your doctor for advice.

And what about the best time for diabetics to exercise? It can be done any time of the day. Do whatever works for you, but by taking the necessary precautions. So, what are you waiting for? Start moving!

No matter how much you sweat in the gym, you cannot manage diabetes unless you have a healthy diet plan. So, follow a healthy diet plan as shown below for successfully managing the condition.

A Diabetes Meal Plan to Complement the Exercise

A diabetes exercise plan is incomplete without a proper diet plan. For, a diet plan is at the core of any diabetes treatment plan.

Diabetes diet plan

Following the above diet plan and regular exercise can help you manage diabetes. For a more customized diet plan, consult a nutritionist.


Exercising along with a healthy diet is critical to your diabetes management plan. Regular physical activity can help lower blood sugar levels. It can also lower the risk of diseases associated with diabetes. There are no hard and fast rules on the kind of exercise you must engage in. You can choose an activity that suits you. For creating a proper diabetes exercise plan, you can take the help of a physical trainer or a therapist. But make sure that you get regular exercise, which can even reverse the condition to a certain extent.


1. How does exercise help people with diabetes?

Exercise benefits everyone, whether you suffer from a health condition or are in the pink of health. Exercise is a critical part of diabetes management. Physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and significantly reduces the risk of other conditions related to diabetes.

2. Can diabetics exercise?

Yes. People with diabetes can certainly exercise, and they should do it regularly. Exercise can help manage the condition and lower the risk of other diabetes-related conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

3. How to exercise with diabetes?

Any type or amount of exercise is good for people with diabetes. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of workout each week.

4. Is jogging good for diabetics?

Jogging is an ideal exercise for people with diabetes. It is an easy exercise to perform and can help lower blood sugar levels.

5. How does exercise reduce blood sugar?

When you exercise, your muscles draw out glucose from your blood, thereby lowering the sugar levels in your blood. It also improves insulin sensitivity.

6. When should diabetics exercise?

A person with diabetes must exercise one to two hours after a meal. This is when the blood sugar levels will be high. Also, check your blood sugar levels before a workout.

7. Will exercise raise blood sugar?

Exercise, especially intense exercise, can raise your blood sugar levels for a brief period. But exercise helps keep your blood sugar levels under control.

8. How does exercise prevent diabetes type 2?

Obesity is one of the risk factors of diabetes. Exercise can prevent diabetes by keeping your weight in check. It also increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels.

9. What kind of exercise should I do if I have type 2 diabetes?

You can do any exercise when you have type 2 diabetes. You can walk, jog, swim, dance, or do yoga or resistance training.

10. How does interval training help with Type 2 diabetes?

Studies have shown that interval training can help improve cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, and glucose control in people with diabetes.

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