Move More

Ready, Set, Move: Exercises for Everyone

Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply improve your health, exercise is key. Regular physical activity has many benefits for people with diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels and blood pressure, burns calories and can even brighten your mood.

There are many types of exercise that most anyone can do. Consider these:

  • Walking. You’re probably already doing it. Now do more. Aim to walk for 30 minutes or more each day. Squeeze in extra steps by parking at the far end of the lot or choosing stairs over elevators.
  • Dance. It’s true: Dancing burns more calories than walking. For an upbeat, cardio-friendly option, try a ZUMBA fitness class.
  • Yoga. Yoga is a low-impact exercise for your body, spirit and mind. Mainly done on the floor with a yoga mat.
  • Tai chi. These slow-paced body poses are helpful for adults looking to increase strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Water aerobics. Your body is more buoyant in water, so you can exercise longer without muscle and joint soreness.
  • Chair-based exercise. These exercises are done while seated. They include body weight movement, exercises with free weights or using exercise bands.
Middle aged couple holding hands and hiking through the woods.

Been a While Since You’ve Exercised?

Try these tips to get started:

  • Choose an activity you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.
  • Set small, reachable goals, such as walking for 10 minutes twice a day.
  • Join an exercise class or start a walking group.
  • Add exercise to everyday activities. Lift arm weights while watching TV. Walk around the parameter of the store before doing your shopping.
  • To stay motivated, track your progress in an exercise diary.

Sources: Physiology & Behavior, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Community War Veterans, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute on Aging, NIH Senior Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Get Active
    • For your health, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity (think: fast walking). You should also get two days of strength training each week (think: resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines). If you haven’t been active for a while, start with shorter exercise sessions and build up to what your doctor recommends.
      • Sources: American Diabetes Association
  • Watch Your Meds
    • Exercise may affect the types of and amount of medications you’re taking. If you use insulin, for example, ask whether you need to change your medication dosage and/or timing around your exercise plan. Talk with your health care provider about the safest option for you.
      • Sources: National Institute of Aging
  • Achieve Balance
    • Try yoga poses to help keep your muscles loose and ward off the aches and pains that come with age. The relaxation that yoga brings helps to lessen tension and lower stress. Do tai chi to help improve your balance and prevent falls.
      • Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Find More Tips to Live Better With Diabetes

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