Exercise Basics

Like diet, exercise is an element of treatment in the diabetics control. Exercise can be anything that requires physical effort too - not only sports like cycling and swimming.

It can be walking, vacuum cleaning even going up and down the stairs if you climb them often enough.

Exercise does not have to be extreme!  A simple walk to the shops counts. Look for opportunities to exercise in things you do every day.

Exercise doesn't have to be extreme!

Just a little caution before you start:-
  • If you have any medical conditions (other than diabetes) get advice on what is suitable and how much to do, consult a doctor first!
  • If unfit don't try and do to much all at once, start gradually and build up.
  • If you are unwell give it a rest as well.
  • For those on drugs or insulin the exercise may decrease your blood sugar (glucose) level too much - start gradually and monitor your blood sugar levels. Find out how exercise effects your control and have a snack or sweet drink if your levels dip to low.
  • Finally don't forget to look after your feet - especially if you have lost any sensitivity. Wear well fitting supportive footwear.

Start gradually and find out what you can do relatively easily and build on it. The target is for most days 30 minute of exercise.

Don't give up if you can't do that all of the time, you will get benefits even from a single session of exercise in a week. These are the guidelines recommended for everyone (not just diabetic's) by the way.

The aim is to do the walking (or other activity), briskly enough to get mildly out of breathe BUT still be able to hold a conversation.

Don't be put off, do what you can - any exercise is better than nothing. You are more likely to continue with exercise if it does not bore you. Try walking to the shops, try varying the route, try a walkman - if it works for you do it.

Don't forget too that there are other benefits too in being reasonable fit and active. Simple stretching type exercises are good for balance and lessen the chances of a fall for the more elderly too.