The Importance Of Exercise When You Have Diabetes

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For those who have diabetes, the benefits of exercise cannot be emphasised enough. Exercise helps you to control your weight while lowering your blood pressure and harmful cholesterol. Exercise also helps to strengthen your bones and muscles, reducing your anxiety and enhancing your general well-being by proxy.

There are numerous benefits of exercise for those who have diabetes, this is because exercise lowers blood glucose levels while boosting the body’s sensitivity to insulin which counters any insulin resistance inherently. Visit diabetes strong for more information on these benefits.

Numerous studies have underscored these benefits, and some of the results of these studies have been highlighted below:

  1. Exercise lowers HbA1c values by 0.7% in those who suffer from diabetes. Those studied were also taking a variety of different medications and following a plethora of different diets. Thus, this improvement occurs regardless of whether people lost weight or not after exercising.
  2. Every form of exercise including resistance and aerobic exercise helps to lower insulin resistance in those adults with abdominal obesity.
  3. Combining two different forms of exercise has proven to be far more beneficial than performing one form of exercise. 
  4. Those with diabetes who walked for at least two hours per week were far less likely to die as a result of heart disease when compared to their counterparts. Those who exercised for four hours per week cut their risk more dramatically.
  5. Women who had diabetes and spent four hours per week exercising had a 40% lower risk of developing heart-related diseases than those who did not exercise at all. These benefits continued even after researchers included other factors including BMI and heart disease risk factors including smoking. 

Generally, the best time to exercise is three hours after eating, as this is when your blood sugar levels are likely to be far higher. If you use insulin, it is crucial that you test your blood sugar levels prior to exercising. If your insulin level is below 100mg prior to exercising, then you should consume a piece of fruit as this will boost these levels and help to avoid hypoglycemia.

Testing your levels again 30 minutes afterwards will show you whether your blood sugar level has stabilized or not. It is also advisable to check your blood sugar levels after any strenuous exercise. If you are taking insulin, your risk of hypoglycemia will be at its highest 12 hours after you have exercised.

Experts have also cautioned against exercising if your blood sugar levels are too high (over 250). This is because exercise can also raise your blood sugar levels. Thus, you should always assess your blood sugar levels when exercising with diabetes.

Benefits of Physical Activities

Aerobic Exercise Benefits 

Aerobic exercises increase insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial density, compliance of blood vessels, and oxidative enzymes. It also improves lung function, cardiac output, and immune function. Moderate or high levels of aerobic activity is also associated with reducing the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases if you have type 1 and 2 diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, aerobic training activities drastically increase your cardiorespiratory fitness levels while reducing insulin levels by proxy. They also improve lipid levels as well as your endothelial function.

For those who have type 2 diabetes, training regularly helps to reduce blood pressure, A1C triglycerides, and insulin resistance. Alternatively, engaging in high-intensity interval training can also promote the enhancement of your skeletal capacity, glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in those who have type 2 diabetes. These activities can be performed without any impact on glycemic control in those who have type 1 diabetes.

Resistance Exercise Benefits

Diabetes is a risk factor in those who have poor muscular strength and it also contributes to accelerated declines in muscular strength and function status. Thus, the health benefits of engaging in resistance activities are unprecedented. Body composition, strength, physical function, mental health, bone density, insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and cardiovascular health are all improved by engaging in resistance exercises.

While the impact of resistance exercises on glycemic control in type 1 diabetes remains unclear, resistance exercises can help to decrease the risk of experiencing exercise-induced hypoglycemia.

When engaging in both resistance and aerobic exercises, performing resistance activities initially results in a lessened chance of hypoglycemia than performing aerobic activities first. The benefits of resistance training for those who have type 2 diabetes include enhanced insulin resistance, lean body mass, and improvements in blood pressure.

Benefits of Other Types of Exercise

Balance and flexibility exercises are important for those who have diabetes in their old age. This is because limited mobility is often present, which results partly due to the formation of advanced glycation. This accumulates during the ageing process and is drastically enhanced by hyperglycemia.

Stretching enhances your overall range of motion and increases your flexibility by proxy. This doesn’t impact your glycemic control but balance training can reduce your risk of falls by enhancing your gait.

Group exercises reduce falls by 29%. The benefits of engaging in training activities like tai chi and yoga is far less established. However, yoga could possibly promote an improvement in glycemic control as well as body composition in those who have type 2 diabetes.

Tai chi training may also enhance glycemic control, neuropathic issues, and your balance. The quality of life in those who have diabetes is drastically improved by engaging in exercise overall although evidence relating to tai chi and yoga is limited.


To conclude, this article has outlined the benefits of exercise if you have type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The benefits of exercising for those who are diabetic are unprecedented. Engaging in aerobic and resistance training activities and exercises have been proven to help control glycemic levels. Thus, you should engage in exercise regularly in order to manage your condition accordingly. Measuring your blood sugar levels prior to and after engaging in exercise is always recommended, especially if you are taking insulin. I hope that you have found this article to be insightful and informative. Thank you for reading.




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