Diabetes and Exercise
A regular exercise program has
many beneﬁts for everyone. These include:
• An improved sense of
• Stress reduction
• Lower blood
• Lower cholesterol and
increased HDL cholesterol
• Improved muscle tone and
reduced risk of falls
• Better sleep
• Weight loss and
• Maintenance of bone
• Less risk of heart
If you have diabetes, you will
get all these beneﬁts from exercise. In addition, regular exercise will improve your insulin sensitivity, and if
you have type 2 diabetes, regular exercise will also improve your glucose control. However, there are a number
of challenges to exercising safely if you have diabetes. The challenges include avoiding both high and low blood
glucose levels during exercise, especially when you are on insulin, and how to exercise safely when you have
complications of diabetes, especially neuropathy and heart disease.
Exercise has numerous beneﬁts
for people with diabetes, but it is not as simple as saying “go and exercise.” Before embarking on an exercise
plan, visit your physician and diabetes educator and get guidance on how to exercise safely. If you have type 1
diabetes, you may need to adjust your insulin and your carbohydrate intake before, during, and after exercise.
You will also need to monitor your glucose levels more frequently.
If you have type 2 diabetes,
you may also need to cut back on the insulin or oral medicines that can cause hypoglycemia. Additional
modiﬁcations of the exercise plan may be necessary if you have complications of diabetes.