Wonderfully Fit

Is Exercising Necessary for Management of Diabetes?

Yes, it is necessary. Diabetes has no cure, but you can appropriately manage it with diet and exercise. Despite exercise being a valuable tool, most people don’t engage in it, and those who do, lack the motivation to continue.

While apathy is a core reason for not exercising, lack of information is a factor too. Most of the persons with diabetes lack the proper knowledge on the type of exercises that they should implement in the daily routine.


Which types of exercises are suitable? Aerobics and resistance exercises are regarded as the cornerstone for the management of diabetes (1).


Aerobic exercises include cycling, treadmill, running, swimming, rowing, walking, and running. These types of exercises, if done correctly can offer significant benefits to you.

The exercises help in;

  • Improving insulin sensitivity
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Increase in the respiratory system function
  • Reduction of the metabolic risk factors
  • Assists in maintaining blood pressure
  • High-intensity aerobic activities can aid in weight loss
  • Helps in controlling the glycemic levels
  • Improves the lipid profile
  • Restores the endothelial functions
  • Reduces arterial stiffness
  • Helps in the uptake of glucose in the skeletal muscles

The frequency of the aerobic exercises should be three days per week. For persons with diabetes, it is recommended that you have 150 min/ week of aerobic exercises (2).

Resistance exercises

These exercises include weight lifting. Because of the use the equipment, the resistance exercises can prove to be difficult for some of the people especially the seniors.

The exercises help to increase the muscle strength and lean muscle mass. Increase in the muscle mass results in the Blood glucose uptake which in turn increase the insulin action. With the exercises, your blood glucose intake will improve whether insulin is available or not (2).

Combining aerobic and resistance exercises can be more effective in the blood glucose management (2).

It is essential for you to engage in resistance exercises twice a week. 5 to 10 exercises involving both the upper body, core, and lower body is enough for you.

Side effects

Exercises are great not only in the management of diabetes but also for improving your general health. However, if not done correctly, they can pose a risk to your health.

Exercises can lead to sudden cardiac health especially in patients with coronary heart disease. It is, therefore, crucial for you to be screened for myocardial ischemia before engaging in any exercise (1). It is vital for you to finish the workouts with a cool down session to recover the heart rate. Cardiac autonomic neuropathy results from failure of heart rate recovery.

Fatigue and tiredness may also create an imbalance between the oxygen delivery and intake. The onset of hypoglycemia after the aerobic exercises may be a risk for a person taking insulin. You are advised to consult a dietician or a doctor on the different exercises that you can use.

Make a point of conducting a pre-exercise assessment before any exercise.