If you have diabetes, no matter which type, making sure your body is as healthy as it can be should be your top priority. Being active is a crucial part of that; it helps your body reduce fat, building muscle, regulate its hormones, and reduces stress, all of which leads to a healthier you. With that said let’s dive right in and discover the best exercises for people who are diabetic.


How much is enough?

Depending on your original fitness level, you might start feeling out of breath 15 minutes into your routine or, conversely, be able to keep going for hours, in which case, good for you.

While focusing on your abilities is an excellent place to start, you need to keep your goals higher. Aim for the 150-minutes a week mark, around 30 minutes per day, the recommended amount suggested by Diabetes UK, and you’ll soon feel healthier.

These are our top tips to getting you started:

1. Prepare

Aside from engaging in all the usual stretching, you need to do before exercising; you’ll also need to ensure you have had a sufficient and healthy meal before exercising.

Be sure to take a small bag with you to workout containing snacks, water, and insulin, if you need it, to make sure you are fully prepared for the activity. You may also consider getting a medical alert bracelet or adding health details to your phone, so if the worst happens, you can get help ASAP.

2. Listen to  your body

If you’re not feeling up to that routine today, it may be time to rest, after all, your health comes first.

The same goes for once you’ve started your workout, if you feel you need to take it easy that day, do so. You can always make it up later when you’re feeling more yourself.

3. Be consistent

This workout for people who are diabetic is only going to be effective if you stick to it, aim to do a little every day. This will help you be more consistent in your workout efforts and let your body know what to expect so it can adjust accordingly.

Train your focus


When creating your very own diabetes exercise program, focus on a combination of aerobic and strength-building exercises to keep you healthy, and on track, each has its own benefits for improving your health:

  • Aerobic exercise is great for your mind and body, and never more so than if you have diabetes. Improving blood circulation, heart health, and lowering blood glucose levels; it should be a vital component of your weekly regime.
  • Strength training, on the other hand, boosts insulin sensitivity and lowers blood as you increase your muscle mass, boosting your metabolic and burn calories quicker. What this does is it changes how your muscles absorb and store glucose, leading to healthier levels in your system.

By combining the two, you set yourself on a path to better health, but more on which exercises to you should do a little later.

What to watch out for

As someone with diabetes, you know that monitoring your body sugar levels is one of the key factors in managing the condition, and exercise time is no exception.

While we’re sure you ‘feel’ it when your blood sugar is too low or high, there is little harm in checking with your own monitor; this will allow you to adjust your routine and diet accordingly, and remember to take account of these two states:


Those who are in a hypo, below 7mmol/l, may consider rechecking their blood levels and perhaps eating some carbs to boost their blood sugar. This is an exercise essential for any person with diabetes.


For those experiencing hyperglycemia, above 13mmol/l, it’s best to rest, not exercise and ensure you have taken the appropriate insulin dose to manage your condition.

Note: If you are in any way concerned always check with your doctor first.

Top 5 exercises for people with diabetes

And now for the main event, what you’ve been waiting for. These are the top exercises to undertake when you have diabetes.

1. Walking

friends walking

A gentle exercise on the muscles, brisk walking c an raise your heart rate giving you that aerobic boost. Try to get in at least a 30-minute session each day or 150 minutes a week.

2. Yoga

yoga practice

Good for the mind and body, yoga not only helps build flexibility; it also reduces stress, tones muscles, and helps fight insulin resistance, ensuring you have a healthier mind and happier body.

3. Weightlifting

strength training

Not just for dedicated bodybuilders, strength training or weight lifting is one of the best exercises to lower blood sugar that you can do. As we briefly explained above, it increases your muscles which can help regulate your blood sugar levels.

4. Cycling


Ah, the feel of the open road, cycling is one fun exercise whether you have diabetes or not. Think of the wind in your hair as the world whizzes by, and of course, those health-boosting benefits too.

5. Swimming


Low intensity (and fun) workout for all you water babies out there. The water helps support your body as you get in some beneficial laps and boost your overall health.

Written by Maria Isabella Neverovich
Maria is an Irish writer, Health Editor at Verv, lover of forests, mountains and all things nature. She enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, creating...
View all articles