Exercise recommendations for Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise recommendations

Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise

Exercise and physical activity are the two main pillars for maintaining control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should be advised to perform at least 150 min/week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (50–70% of maximum heart rate) and if no contraindications, resistance training three times per week should be encouraged.

Progressive resistance exercise improves insulin sensitivity in older men with type 2 diabetes to the same or even a greater extent as aerobic exercise.

According to some studies, structured exercise interventions of at least 8 weeks duration have been shown to lower HbA1c by 0.66% in people with type 2 diabetes.

Aerobic and resistance exercises can be followed by FITT principle:

 Some tips to not lose your track during exercise:

Break your exercise into 10 minutes each or more if you are unable to do at a stretch for 30 minutes.

Some aerobic activities recommended include:

  • risk walking (outside or inside on a treadmill)
  • Bicycling/Stationary cycling indoors
  • Dancing
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Playing tennis
  • Stair climbing
  • Jogging/Running
  • Hiking
  • Rowing
  • Ice-skating or roller-skating
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Moderate-to-heavy gardening

Strength Training

  • Also called resistance training. This helps in maintaining the strength in muscles and reducing the risk for osteoporosis.
  • Experts recommend that we do 8 to 10 strength training exercises on 2 or more days a week. Be sure to include exercises for all major muscle groups including arms, legs, back, and chest.


Examples of strength training activities include:

  • Using your own body (e.g., push-ups, squats, etc.)
  • Using resistance bands
  • Using weights or things around the house (like soup cans) for exercises like bicep curls
  • Using weight equipment at a gym like a leg curl machine