According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), more than 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes. However, between five to 10 percent have type 1 diabetes and 90 to 95 percent have type 2 diabetes.
Physical fitness is good for everyone, especially people with diabetes. A regular fitness program burns fat, burns calories and helps you maintain or reach a healthy weight. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ʺRegular exercise helps diabetics control the amount of sugar in their blood.ʺ
The best way to maintain blood glucose levels is balancing a nutritious diet and exercise. For example, when you exercise regularly you may need to decrease your insulin. Also, regular exercise may help prevent diabetes complications.
It is extremely important to contact your doctor before you begin any type of fitness or exercise program. If you can, meet with your doctor before you start your exercise program and bring the shoes you will be using to exercise. This way, they can make their recommendations for the best shoes for your needs.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the following for individuals with type 1 diabetes:
• Bring foods (box of raisins, banana, granola bar, etc. )which contain carbohydrates in case your blood glucose level drops too low during or after exercise.
• Drink extra fluids that do not contain sugar before, during, and after exercise.
• Before and after exercising, monitor your blood glucose levels.
• If possible, exercise daily at the same time of day.
• Start out slow and select a fitness activity for your current fitness level.
• Try various activities and team activities so you don’t become bored with your fitness program.
• Wear a diabetes identification bracelet.
• Bring your cell phone in case of an emergency.
• You may need to adjust your medication and diet (to keep your blood glucose levels in an appropriate range) if you change the duration or intensity of your exercise program.
Also, the online magazine DiabeticLifestyle recommends the following for individuals with type 1 diabetes:
• The key thing to remember is balance.
• Balance exercise, food and insulin.
• Balance your amount of exercise with the food you eat and your insulin intake. This will help you work toward your blood glucose level goals.
• It's also important to consider when and how much you exercise.
• If you exercise in the morning, eating a healthy, balanced breakfast can help fuel your workout and make it easier for you to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
• Monitor your blood glucose levels.
• Monitoring your blood glucose levels before and after exercise can help you determine how your body responds to exercise.
• Carry a light carbohydrate-rich snack in case you need immediate energy.
• Carry glucose tablets.
• Remember to drink lots of water during your workouts.
For more exercise tips for diabetics you can go to: https://www.empowher.com/diabetes/content/exercise-tips-diabetics
Type 1 diabetes: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. National Library of Medicine -National Institutes of Health. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from
Diabetes Exercise Tips and advice for being more active. Diabetes information including treating type 2 diabetes at Diabetes.com. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from
CDC - Be Active - Diabetes & Me - Diabetes DDT. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from
Exercise Tips for Diabetes - Working Out and Staying Fit Safely with Diabetes. DiabeticLifestyle: Recipes and Practical Information for Managing Diabetes. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from
Fitting in Exercise into Your Daily Life - Living Well with Diabetes. DiabeticLifestyle: Recipes and Practical Information for Managing Diabetes. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from
Exercising with Diabetes - The Importance of Exercise for Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. DiabeticLifestyle: Recipes and Practical Information for Managing Diabetes. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from this Article, http://www.diabeticlifestyle.com/newly-diagnosed/exercising-diabetes
Easy Exercise Ideas for Diabetes - Walking, Swimming, and Dancing. DiabeticLifestyle: Recipes and Practical Information for Managing Diabetes. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from
Reviewed August 17, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith