Diabetes: recommended exercises for high blood sugar


Exercises and physical activities have always been beneficial for us when they, done under the supervision of healthcare experts. For diabetic individuals, certain types of physical activities, defined by the American Diabetes Association. Physical activity, varied effects on blood glucose depending on the number of hours you, active and many other factors. It, can lower your blood glucose up to 24 hours or more after you complete a session by increasing the sensitivity of your body to insulin.

Importance of Exercise

Exercise, reported to reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides. They increase HDL levels in the body and reduce blood pressure. They improve cardiovascular health and reduce the coronary heart diseases. Exercise reduces obesity and aids in weight loss.

The risk of coagulation abnormalities is minimised. Physical activities help in reducing joint pain and stiffness on muscles and prevent osteoporosis. They decrease fatigue in daily activities and delay the onset of dementia, and stress. In addition to all these, exercise helps the diabetics to improve insulin sensitivity, enhance glucose utilisation, and decrease glucose production from the liver.

Types of exercises

You can choose the type of exercise you want to do after consulting your healthcare expert. Aerobic exercises, those that use large muscle groups and requires oxygen for long periods. On the other hand, anaerobic or resistance exercise uses large muscle groups which do not require oxygen for short periods of physical exercise.


Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, bike riding should be intense enough to elevate pulse rate and thus, the respiration rate. Yoga is another form of exercise which helps to reduce stress by suppressing the counter regulatory hormones. It also helps to insulin sensitivity and keeps blood glucose level under control.

Tips to Start Exercise

Do not take quick decision on which activity you want to do. The kind of activity you perform must be suitable to your diabetes type and age. Also you must enjoy the activity else it can induce stress and boredom. Start with your exercise or activity slowly, say for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Increase the intensity and the duration of exercise gradually. Try to do the exercise with a partner or in a group, if possible. Remember, you must avoid getting bored with your fitness regime.

A young diabetic individual who has good metabolic control can participate in most activities. Aging leads to degeneration of ligaments, bones, muscles, and joints; diabetes may increase the problem. The middle-aged and older diabetics should be, encouraged to stay physically active. First of all, before beginning any exercising program, the individual with diabetes must undergo thorough screening for any underlying complications which can get worse after exercising.

A standard recommendation for diabetic patients, as for non-diabetic individuals, is that exercise includes a proper warm-up and cool-down period. A warm-up of 5–10 minutes with aerobic activities like walking, cycling, etc. at a low-intensity level is, suggested.

It prepares the skeletal muscles, heart, and lungs for a progressive increase in exercise intensity. After a short warm-up, muscles should be gently, stretched for another 5–10 min. After the activity session, a cool-down should be structured similarly to the warm-up. The cool-down of 5–10 min gradually brings the heart rate down to its pre-exercise stage.

Recommended Physical Activities for Diabetics

Body weight management for obese people with diabetes is crucially important. Intensive lifestyle modification programs are needed with frequent follow-ups to achieve significant results. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has, recommended that adults above 18 years should perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or a combination of the two types in right proportion.


Therefore, muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups, recommended for two or more days per week. The patient’s age and previous physical activity level must be taken into consideration. Elderly adults, 65 years of age, and those with disabilities must follow these adult guidelines as far as possible or stay physically active as much as they can be.

In addition health supervisors or doctors should assess patients for conditions if they are susceptible to injury due to exercises, such as hypertension, untreated proliferative retinopathy, autonomic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy, and a history of foot ulcers.


All patients with diabetes should get the benefit of the valuable effects of exercise. furthermore, recommended by the ADA, for type 2 diabeties, the benefit of exercise in improving the metabolic abnormalities is probably greatest when it is, used early in its progression from, impaired glucose tolerance to severe hyperglycemia.

For type 1 diabetes, the emphasis of exercising must be on adjusting the therapeutic regimen to allow safe participation in all forms of physical activities which should be consistent with an individual’s desires and goals. The importance of promoting physical activities as a vital component of the controlling blood sugar level must be, emphasized.

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