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Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes

Regular physical activity may help your type 2 diabetes. Daily activity:

  • May help the insulin in your blood work better
  • May help lower blood sugar levels by using glucose for energy

Exercising consistently can help you manage your blood glucose and A1C level. Exercise can also help reduce stress. Stress, which can increase your blood sugar, can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Remember: Be sure to check with your doctor first before starting any new exercise program.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week for adults. When you break that into five 30-minute sessions a week, it helps to make reaching your goal a little easier. These guidelines also recommend doing muscle-strengthening activities that work all your major muscle groups twice a week or more.

Helpful tips for exercising with diabetes:

Check with your doctor to find out what exercise regimen is right for you. Start by working toward a goal of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. That will get you up to a total of 150 minutes. A good way to build up to 30 minutes is to break the activity into 10-minute chunks.

If you haven't been very active recently, start with a realistic goal of 5 or 10 minutes a day. Then add a few minutes a day to your routine.

Excuses are easy to make. Instead, ask a friend or loved one to be your workout buddy—or sign up for a group activity like yoga.

Beyond planned exercise, there are lots of ways you can build more activity into your day to burn calories. Remember that activities you do every day count toward your goal. You may be more active than you think. Remember, housekeeping or mowing the lawn counts as activity.

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