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Diabetes and Exercises

Exercise is a crucial part of any diabetes management plan. It can help to control blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce stress. But with so many different types of exercise out there, it can be hard to know where to start. In this blog post, we will explore different types of exercises that are beneficial for people with diabetes. We will also be providing some tips on how to get started and stay motivated. So whether you're looking to create a new exercise routine or want to learn more about how exercise can help your diabetes, read on!

What is Diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes develops most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age. Hence, it is called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes. It occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone required to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.

People with this form of diabetes need daily insulin injections or an infusion of insulin through a pump. They must also carefully monitor their blood sugar levels several times a day and adjust their insulin doses accordingly—a careful balancing act that can be challenging.

Type 2 diabetes which was formerly called adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin or is unable to use the insulin it does make. This type of disease usually develops slowly over time as people put on weight and become less physically active—factors that increase the body's resistance to using insulin properly. In type 2 diabetes, people may eventually need daily injections of insulin. But most people with this type of disease can control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone or with oral medications, usually for many years before progressing to insulin therapy.

Exercise and Diabetes

Exercise is a crucial part of managing diabetes. It can play a role in helping people to maintain an active lifestyle. Here are some specific benefits of exercise for people with diabetes:

1. Improved blood sugar control: Exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity, which might lead to better blood sugar control.

2. Reduced risk of complications: Exercise can help reduce the risk of developing complications such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) and cardiovascular disease. Exercise can also help reduce the risk of these complications.

3. Improved quality of life: It can help improve your overall quality of life by helping you manage pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Exercise can also help improve quality of life by increasing energy levels and reducing stress.


Exercise intervention for diabetes

Clinical practice guideline for diabetes recommends combining endurance training and strength training to be more effective in individuals with diabetes to control blood sugar level.

1. Low to moderate intensity exercises (50 to 75% VO2 max) for 3–5 days per week for an individual with diabetes.

2. Strength training exercises should include 5 to 10 exercises per session, and each exercise should be performed for 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

3. Minimal exercise duration of more than 150 minutes per week.

Physical therapists can work with people to develop safe and effective exercise programs and can provide advice on how to stay motivated. You can contact MobilePhysiocare for a one-on-one consultation with our physical therapist. You can connect with us for private home physical therapy.

Prevention of diabetes

There are a few things you can do to prevent diabetes or at least delay its onset. First, maintain a healthy body weight. It may be done by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

The study shows if you are overweight, losing just 5-10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of developing diabetes. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, you should watch your waistline. Men with waists more significant than 40 inches and women with waists larger than 35 inches are more likely to develop diabetes.

Diet and Diabetes

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists' Healthful Eating Recommendations include

1. Eating regular meals and snacks.

2. Avoid fasting to lose weight.

3. Consume a plant-based diet that is high in fiber and high in antioxidants.

4. Read and understand Nutritional facts and label information on any food products which you buy.

5. Use mild cooking techniques instead of high-heat cooking.

One of our physical therapists can help you with diet modification as needed. We provide virtual visits. Get free on-call consultation from our experts, and get an appointment within 24- hours of calling.


Dominique Hansen, Stefaan Peeters, Bruno Zwaenepoel, Dirk Verleyen, Carla Wittebrood, Nicole Timmerman, Michel Schotte, Exercise Assessment and Prescription in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes in the Private and Home Care Setting: Clinical Recommendations From AXXON (Belgian Physical Therapy Association), Physical Therapy, Volume 93, Issue 5, 1 May 2013, Pages 597–610,

AACE/ACE comprehensive diabetes management algorithm 2015Alan J Garber, Martin J Abrahamson, Joshua I Barzilay, Lawrence Blonde, Zachary T Bloomgarden, Michael A Bush, Samuel Dagogo-Jack, Michael B Davidson, Daniel Einhorn, Jeffrey R Garber, W Timothy Garvey, George Grunberger, Yehuda Handelsman, Irl B Hirsch, Paul S Jellinger, Janet B McGill, Jeffrey I Mechanick, Paul D Rosenblit, Guillermo Umpierrez, Michael H Davidson. PMID: 25877012, DOI: 10.4158/EP15693.CS

Handelsman Y, Bloomgarden ZT, Grunberger G, Umpierrez G, Zimmerman RS, Bailey TS, Blonde L, Bray GA, Cohen AJ, Dagogo-Jack S, Davidson JA, Einhorn D, Ganda OP, Garber AJ, Garvey WT, Henry RR, Hirsch IB, Horton ES, Hurley DL, Jellinger PS, Jovanovič L, Lebovitz HE, LeRoith D, Levy P, McGill JB, Mechanick JI, Mestman JH, Moghissi ES, Orzeck EA, Pessah-Pollack R, Rosenblit PD, Vinik AI, Wyne K, Zangeneh F. American association of clinical endocrinologists and American college of endocrinology - clinical practice guidelines for developing a diabetes mellitus comprehensive care plan - 2015. Endocr Pract. 2015 Apr;21 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):1-87. DOI: 10.4158/EP15672.GL. PMID: 25869408; PMCID: PMC4959114.

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