Best Exercises To Help You Manage Diabetes

Estimated read time 4 min read

We know that exercise, including walking, is a powerful tool in managing most chronic health conditions. That is true for diabetes too.

Exercise helps control blood sugar levels and improves overall health and well-being.

Diabetes requires careful management – taking your medication (if you\’re on one), watching what you eat, and making sure you get in some form of physical activity. Very often though, diabetes patients struggle with this element of diabetes management.

If that\’s you, you know exactly what I\’m talking about.

Whether you\’re newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years, why don\’t we look at some of the best exercises to manage diabetes to see if you can\’t find something that gets you moving?

How Exercise Benefits Diabetes

Regular exercise helps your cells use insulin more effectively. Stick to moderate-intensity exercise, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes (T2D).

If you have T2D, you are at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, something that regular exercise can help you manage.

Decreased muscle mass and strength are other vulnerable area for people with diabetes, which resistance training can help you manage. Here are some of the most effective exercises for diabetes management



It\’s one of the best exercises because you can do it anytime and anywhere. Follow the ADA\’s recommendation and add 30 minutes of brisk walking –– or about 100 steps a minute –– to your regular exercise plan.


Both the stationary bikes at your local gym or a regular outdoor bike will give you the cardio to help manage your diabetes. As diabetes puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, safe cardio options such as cycling will be especially good for you. Join a cycling class or buy an old bike and hit the road to improve your health.


It not only gives you a great low-impact workout, but the breathing exercises are great for relaxation too. Yoga also improves your flexibility, balance, and core strength, which is especially helpful for older adults with T2D. There are many online yoga studios and YouTube channels to make yoga an affordable option for diabetes management.


This is another great low-impact option for a number of reasons. The repetitive movements and breathwork you do in Pilates will help to strengthen your core, improve your balance and posture, and control your blood glucose.


If the fun aspect of dance as exercise appeals to you, this can be an enjoyable break from humdrum exercises and the gym. It\’s a great heart-healthy way to switch things up and if you take classes, tap into the social aspect of dance. Consider Zumba, hip-hop, tango, and Bollywood classes which are easiest to find and learn.

Swimming and Water aerobics

Water sports are easy on the joints and can boost the overall fitness, strength, and heart health of people with T2D.

Weight training

With free weights, resistance bands, or other equipment may increase insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in people with T2D.

Stair Climbing

Not only is this a great way to tone the thighs and strengthen them, stair climbing ___. It\’s easy to stick to and easy to incorporate into your everyday.


has one big advantage over other exercises — it helps to build muscular endurance better than most exercises including running and cycling. Rollerblading helps to improve your balance, helps you to keep the weight off and your heart healthy.

Before jumping into a fitness program, get your doctor\’s OK to exercise — especially if you\’ve been inactive. Ask your doctor how activities you\’re contemplating might affect your blood sugar.

Christine Angelica

Christine is a Mindfulness trainer and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation, routines, systems and personalization.

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