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Exercising With Diabetes: 10 Simple Steps to Start Working Out Safely

Exercising With Diabetes


Staying active and working out regularly is an unavoidable life truth, especially for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, then you should have a strong bond with the workout. But as a diabetic person, how can you start work out safely without affecting your body? 

Starting a workout with diabetes is not as difficult as it seems, but you should know how to begin and what factors may worsen your diabetes despite its benefits. But, for all this beginning, motivation is the key that keeps you stick to the routine.

What if I am not aware of how to start diabetes exercises? This question hits the mind of many people with diabetes, and the fear of unawareness doesn’t let them even begin workouts. Well, here we will discuss few basic steps to keep in mind before starting any exercise.

Importance of Exercise With Diabetes

Exercise is very much beneficial for health for everyone, but for people with diabetes, exercise might be a lifesaver. Exercising with diabetes can spare you from blood sugar spikes and regulate your mental health. In addition, it lower diabetic risk factors like cardiovascular disease and contributes to weight loss.

Exercising with diabetes helps better control serum glucose levels, a much-needed effect for a diabetic person. Regular exercise can prevent diabetes development, and if it occurs, it can control diabetic symptoms.

How to Begin Workout: 10 Safety Tips 

1- Consult Your Doctor

It’s an important and foremost step before initiating any workout plan. You never know how exercise can affect your diabetes. Exercising with diabetes is good, but it may become a disaster if started without consultation.

Let your doctor check your diabetic score to analyze your condition. You should be very careful before beginning exercises, especially if you take diabetic medication or have any other complications.

Health issues like high blood pressure and muscle and joint problems can make it challenging to exercise. The doctor will recommend the changes in medication, if any, guide you about the best exercises for diabetes type1 and 2. The doctor also shows you how to avoid any drastic effects of exercising with diabetes.

Consulting a doctor can keep you updated about which exercises are unsafe for type 2 diabetes. Specific activities may not suit you if you have any diabetic complications like cardiovascular issues, eye problems, or nerve damage.

2- Choose Different Exercises 

The majority of us never know the best exercises for diabetes, but it’s crucial to get started. A mixture of strength training and aerobic exercises is the perfect combo for a diabetic workout plan.

Aerobic exercises include jogging, swimming, walking, hiking, dancing, and using cardio machines. Strength exercises are the ones that require suspension ropes, weights, resistance bands to improve flexibility and build up muscles.

You should choose different exercises as per your comfort and health score, but again never get yourself exhausted with the activity you can’t do. Also, choose different exercises for various times as per your goal. The best time to exercise for type 2 diabetes is about 30 minutes before a meal; it helps better use of glucose.

Different exercises fit diabetic workout plans and include swimming, cycling, walking, aerobic dance, weight lifting, resistance training, etc.

3- Set a Goal for Yourself

If you are not working out previously, then nothing to worry about. You can start working out today from very little and progress towards moderate physical activity and strengthening exercise.

Always choose a realistic approach in the beginning and set a goal for yourself. Recommended not to select such goals that you cannot achieve either due to work schedule or other reasons. 

Never expect too much in the beginning; importantly, never expect dramatic results within a few days. It will take some time to put in the effort, but it will surely help you in the long term future.

In the beginning, analyze your body’s limitations and after-effects of how the body responds to the current workout. Modify the targeted goal as per body needs, but remember not to relax your body much.

4- Understand the Effect of An Exercise on Medication

Do you know how physical activity affects insulin? A diabetic workout plan should contraindicate with the drug, which may otherwise result in severe consequences. If you take insulin and work out excessively, this may sometimes result in extremely low blood sugar.

The more the workout is, the more will be the burning of glucose. During rest, the insulin helps glucose enter the body cells while this entrance of glucose becomes independent during exercise. So there is a need to lower the insulin intake if you have regular physical activity to avoid dropping serum glucose levels.

The astonishing effect of exercise is that it improves insulin activity, so if you are taking insulin externally, there is a need to modify the dosage. According to a study, sulfonylureas ( insulin secretagogues) stimulate the pancreas to release insulin during exercise and increase hypoglycemic risk.

5- Start Slowly in the Beginning

Exercising with diabetes does not require running a marathon all of a sudden in the beginning. Even a single step on the 1st day matters a lot, and it helps you build up slowly. You can start walking at the beginning and slow progress towards running, jogging, and other intense exercises.

Few ignorable and straightforward moves could also be enough at the beginning, like:

  • Keep on walking while talking to someone on the phone
  • Try to avoid elevators and prefer stairs
  • Park your car over some distance, so that you have to walk a bit
  • Do some sit-ups or jumping back during breaks
  • Walk on foot to market for buying groceries

Build up your exercise program bit by bit, and try to achieve the target of 2 ½ hours of moderate activity per week. Or try to do vigorous activity for at least 1 ¼ hours in a week.

6- Ensure Your Safety While Exercising

Prioritize your safety over everything, and don’t get yourself exhausted while exercising with diabetes. Keep these simple tips in mind for a safe workout:

  1. Carefully check your blood sugar before initiating a workout, immediately after a workout, and act accordingly. 
  2. Listen to your body during exercising.
  3. Recheck your blood sugar about an hour after a workout
  4. Always warm up properly to stimulate the blood flow throughout the body
  5. Drink adequate water before, during, and after a workout to stay hydrated.
  6. Carry some carbohydrate source along, to treat sudden low blood sugar
  7. Wear the medical ID tag mentioning you have diabetes to get some quick help in case of emergency
  8. Avoid exercising in extreme summers and winters; choose indoors if necessary
  9. Avoid overly tough workouts.

Seniors are more suspected of having safety concerns while exercising. What are suitable diabetes exercises for seniors? These include dancing, yoga, walking, cycling, swimming, etc.

7- Identify What is Hindering Your Exercise Schedule

What is making you afraid to begin your workout plan? Is it blood sugar or something else? Well, exercising with diabetes is not essential, but we can say it’s a basic necessity. Your concerns might be genuine in some cases, but there is always a solution to any trouble.

If you are afraid of sudden low blood sugar, then talk to your doctor about the situation. He will suggest the best exercises along with an appropriate diet to prevent this condition. Adjust dosage and timing of medication to avoid any uncertainty.

If your work schedule doesn’t allow you to begin exercising, start very slowly and build up gradually. You can start with a bit of walking, and manage physical activity in your spare time instead of wasting time on mobile phones.

8- Motivate Yourself

Motivation is the key to exercising with diabetes. If you are running from exercises, then never think of defeating diabetes. Focus on your goals and specific benefits that will come along with the activity.

Self-motivation is essential; it helps a person be accountable to himself. Always look for the far benefits you can enjoy by sparing some time for the exercises. Take medication on time, have adequate sleep, and stress-free life for better workouts.

If possible, get a buddy for an exercise who can motivate you and make this routine more amazing.

No one wants to live a compromised diabetic life in the long term, Right? This motivation is well enough for a person to start a workout today or resume again if left. 

Never underestimate yourself while comparing yourself with others; you can do anything that you want. But self-motivation is key to the lock which you must open for a better life ahead.

9- Listen to Your Body 

Quit your current workout if it is continuously causing pain, discomfort, and itches. Certain exercises don’t suit the specific body, and you may suffer from this situation. Never exhaust yourself and carefully listen to your body.

If any specific exercise is creating problems, then replace it and consult any physiotherapist for better recommendations. 

If your body is not cooperating during a workout and you feel fainting, have low blood sugar, shortness of breath, chest pain, etc., then it’s time to visit your doctor. Discuss the matter, and he will come up with the best solution that suits your body.

10- Evaluate Your Progress

Don’t you want to see how exercising with diabetes benefits your condition or affects it oppositely? Keep a record from the very beginning about how you started this journey. Like if you start with walking, record the distance you walked daily from day one till now.

And then compare your workout with the changes you noted in body or blood sugar Maintenance. It will update you about the progress report and how the body is responding to the activity.

Positive progress always came up with the motivation to do more and even better. But not to worry if there is negative progress; there is always a way to turn negative to positive.

FAQs: Exercising With Diabetes

1- What is the best exercise for people with diabetes?

Following are the best exercises for diabetes :

  1. Walking
  2. Jogging
  3. Dancing
  4. Swimming
  5. Stair climbing
  6. Gardening
  7. Strength training

2- How should a diabetic start exercise?

If you have diabetes and do not habitual exercise, start it slowly and gradually build up. You can start with a bit of a walk.

3- What is the best time to exercise for people with diabetes?

The ones with type 2 diabetes have to maintain 160g/dl of blood sugar within 2 hrs of the meal. So the best time to exercise for diabetes is 30 minutes after exercise.

4- When should a person with diabetes not exercise?

A person with diabetes should not exercise when their blood sugar is high and also have ketones. It may lead to ketoacidosis.

5- Can exercise cure diabetes?

There is the possibility of reversing diabetes with the help of exercise and diet, but the proper cure is not common. Exercise helps to prevent complications and control blood sugar.

Bottom Line: Don’t Give Up on Exercises; Reap the Rewards!

Don’t give up on exercises, and you will reap the reward soon. Diabetes is a severe medical condition, and its prevention is essential. You can’t control diabetic symptoms with exercise, so it’s better to learn how to begin a workout for diabetes today. Recommended getting your genetic testing done, as this will help you to analyze diabetes.

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