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Easy Exercise Ideas for Diabetes

Walking, Swimming, and Dancing

Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, exercise is an incredibly fun way to manage your diabetes, lose weight (if you need to), and get in shape. However, because there are so many types of exercises, which ones are the most important for people with diabetes?

We boil them down for you below.

The great thing about exercise is that there really aren't any rules—your exercise routine can vary on a daily basis. You can alternate with a combination of aerobic, weight lifting, and flexibility exercises as often as you'd like.

Below are some fun exercise ideas that people with diabetes can do.

  • Be a member of the team. Play on the local softball or tennis team or join another sports team. It's a great way to meet people and stay active.
  • Buy or rent a fitness DVD. There are numerous DVDs to choose from. In fact, some DVDs even focus on specific exercise programs for diabetes. DVDs come in handy when you just don't want to leave your house or when it's too hot or cold outside.
  • Create a goal. Maybe it's to run a 5k or maybe it's to walk a half-marathon to support diabetes research, but having a goal can be rewarding and fun.
  • Join a fitness club. A fitness club can serve as support and motivation for you to stick with your exercise routine.
  • Keep a set of dumbbells nearby. Having a set of 5- or 10-pound dumbbells at your side can encourage you to exercise. For example, you can do sets of bicep curls or tricep curls while you watch TV.
  • Learn something new. Many local gyms offer multiple exercise classes. From Zumba (a Latin-inspired dance program) to spin class, there's bound to be something that interests you.
  • Swim. Whether you swim outdoors or in an indoor pool, swimming is a gentle way to work your muscles and keep your joints and heart healthy.
  • Take a hike. Walking is cheap yet highly effective at keeping you fit.

When exercising, it's important to remember to take a light snack with you, such as a box of raisins or a banana. This can help prevent hypoglycemia, which is when your blood glucose levels get too low. Also, stay hydrated by drinking enough water before, during, and after workout sessions.

If you're new to exercise, start slowly—there's no need to rush into doing too much at once. You can gradually work up to doing more advanced exercises more often. But talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program.

When you make exercise part of your daily life, you make a healthy commitment to taking care of yourself and managing your type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Updated on: June 23, 2016
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