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New Exercise Guidelines for Diabetics

Having type 2 diabetes is no joke. It requires proper maintenance with your medicine, thorough care, and examination of one’s eating habits and daily activities.

People with diabetes should not forget to keep fit, too. We compiled some of the new exercise guidelines recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Below is a list of exercise tips for people with diabetes:

At least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise (complete this for at least three times a week, no more than 2 days apart). The ACSM and the ADA both agreed that brisk walking is a moderate-intensity exercise. They also stated that using a pedometer and setting a goal (e.g., 10,000 steps a day) are both important factors for increasing physical activity.

Resistance exercise (like weight training) is ideally done two to three times a week, but should not be on consecutive days. Using weights, elastic bands, and plastic tubes is also a form of strength training. Gently stretch for about five to 10 minutes before actually starting the exercise. This will help you increase your flexibility and decrease the chance of pulling a muscle (or muscle strains).

Tough exercises. Any movement that will increase one’s heart rate and make one sweat (even doing the house chores fast), is considered valuable in one’s daily exercise goal.

However, there is no need to do all of the exercises at once. According to the ACSM and ADA, “Three 10-minute walks are just as effective as a single 30-minute walk.”

Aerobic exercises, dancing, and swimming. These exercises raise the person’s heart and breathing rates. The usual goal that most people set for these exercises is 30 minutes, five days a week.

Yoga and Tai Chi. These forms of exercise are really helpful to relax the mind and body, especially for the elderly.


Do not munch on stress. One of the factors that greatly affect blood sugar level is stress. So make sure you have time to relax and divert your attention to something good like physical activity and exercise.

Do not make the diabetes complications an excuse for not being physically active. Just take all the necessary precautions while exercising. Do the exercises safely.

Running and biking at top speed may not be advisable for older diabetics.

Do not forget to rehydrate. Drink lots of water before, during, and after exercise.

Do not ignore seeking advice from your doctor. He can determine which exercises are most suitable for you based on your health conditions.

Exercise should be challenging, but not overly difficult. If you are just about to start, or if exercising is really new to you, then start slowly to prevent injury.

Do not forget to monitor how your body responds to various physical activities. Check your blood glucose level before and after each exercise.

If your blood glucose level decreases, eating a healthy snack before starting an exercise may help. Fruits and juices, as well as glucose tablets can also help in increasing the glucose levels. Seek advice from your doctor with regard to adjusting your medication if glucose levels remain low once you start exercising regularly. Be cautious if your blood glucose level is high, as some physical activities can make it go even higher.

An important note from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: If one has diabetes complications, lifting heavy weights can increase pressure in the blood vessels of the eyes, and can worsen diabetes-related eye problems.

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