Physical Activity and Exercise – For Consumers
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to manage and live well with your diabetes.
Did you know?
• Low physical fitness is as strong a risk factor for mortality as smoking.
• Fitness level is one of the strongest predictors of all-cause mortality in people with diabetes.
• Physical activity can be as powerful as glucose-lowering medication…with fewer side effects.
• Regular physical activity, in conjunction with healthy eating and weight control, can reduce diabetes incidence by 60%.
Becoming physically active can be challenging, and many people will need help starting an exercise routine and achieving healthy goals. This information will help you get started.
1. Increase physical activity in your day and reduce sedentary time. Choose active options when you can, such as taking the stairs. Include more activities that you may already do, such as walking the dog, gardening, curling or playing golf. Limit TV or recreational computer use to no more than 2 hours per day and reduce, or break up the time you spend sitting.
2. Begin regular physical activity. At least every second day, do activities like brisk walking, cycling or swimming, for at least 10 minutes at a time. Each week, add 5 minutes to every activity session you do.
3. Begin regular resistance exercise. With the help of a qualified exercise professional, diabetes educator, or exercise resource (such as a video or brochure) learn how to do a muscle strength building routine using weight machines, free weights (such as lifting a barbell or dumbbell), resistance bands or your own body weight. You will need to work most of the muscles in your body with 8 to 10 different exercises. Do each exercise 10 to 15 times each at a light to moderate intensity. Repeat this routine if you can.
4. Continue to do regular aerobic exercise. Do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week, spread over 3 separate days. Don’t go for more than 2 days in a row without exercise. For example, 30 minutes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday = 150 minutes total. Gradually increase the time of your activity sessions up to 60 minutes or more. Also, try to increase the intensity or challenge of your activities. More challenging activities could be hiking, sports, jogging or swimming laps.
5. Continue to do regular resistance exercise. Continue using weight machines or free weights (such as lifting a barbell or dumbbell). You will need to work most of the muscles in your body with 8 to 10 different exercises, done 8 to 10 times each at a moderate to hard intensity. Repeat this routine 2 to 3 times.
If you need help and/or advice on how to become physically active, you can ask your doctor or a member of your diabetes healthcare team for support that is right for you.