Being more active improves your general health and quality of life. It can also help you to better manage your diabetes. Here are some tips for starting your diabetes exercise routine.
How much physical activity should I be doing?
The amount of physical activity that’s right for you will depend on your current level of health and fitness.
It’s generally recommended that you do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, in addition to your normal daily activities.
What type of activity should I be doing?
The best exercise for you is one you enjoy, as this will help keep you motivated. Activities that help to build strength, balance and flexibility are the best for your overall health and wellbeing. There are a lot of great options to choose from, including walking, cycling, dancing, swimming and light resistance training.
If you are unsure of what activities are suitable or safe for you, it’s important to speak to an accredited exercise physiologist for personalised advice.
Special considerations for exercise and diabetes
- Before you begin any form of rigorous activity, talk to your GP, an exercise physiologist or a diabetes educator to work out the type and amount of exercise that’s right for your current state of health and fitness.
- If you have gestational diabetes (or have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are pregnant) you will need to take extra care when exercising. Ask for an exercise plan that’s also suitable during pregnancy.
- Test your blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise, particularly when starting a new program. This will help you understand how your body responds to exercise.
- Wear supportive shoes that fit well and check your feet daily.
- Do not exercise if you feel unwell.
- If you take insulin or certain diabetes tablets, always carry some foods or fluids containing carbohydrate with you.
- People with diabetes are generally discouraged from strenuous physical activity when their blood glucose levels are above 15 mmol/L.
Beat It – exercise program for people living with diabetes
If you need help and inspiration to get more physically active, then the Beat It program might be right for you. Beat It is a group exercise and lifestyle program for people living with or at risk of diabetes.
These small group programs (10–15 participants) include two one-hour sessions per week for eight weeks.
The benefits of Beat It include:
- Increased physical activity levels
- Reduced risk factors for developing diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases
- Reduced risk factors for developing complications associated with diabetes and heart disease
- Improved diabetes management
- Improved healthy eating habits