We're all busy, and exercising isn't always easy. But it's not as complicated as it seems! You don't need to go all out with long workouts. Studies show that just twenty minutes of exercise daily can help you lose weight and manage diabetes better. Dr. Balgeep Singh, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, says exercise can help people with type diabetes. It makes insulin work better and lowers blood sugar levels, especially when you also take your medication. 

This article explains more about the exercises you can do to manage diabetes and how to fit them into your routine. So, why not spend just twenty minutes daily to feel healthier and happier?

Key Facts

  • Total Duration: 20 minutes, perfect for those with a tight schedule.
  • Equipment Needed: None! Just your willingness and perhaps a mat for comfort.
  • Focus: Full-body engagement with an emphasis on cardiovascular health and muscle strengthening, vital for blood sugar regulation.
  • Flexibility: Suitable for indoors, making it weather-proof and accessible year-round.
  • Frequency: Daily sessions recommended for optimal results.
  • Cool-down: Always conclude your workout with a cool-down walk and a thorough stretching session to prevent soreness and enhance flexibility.

Workout Breakdown

  • Warm-up with jogging or walking in place to get your heart rate up.
  • Transition into jumping jacks or step jacks for a low-impact alternative.
  • Engage your core with crunches or seated alternatives for back support.
  • Strengthen your lower body with hip bridges, ensuring proper form.
  • Utilize step-ups to engage different muscle groups, even without a stepper.
  • Target your lower abs with reverse crunches for deep muscle engagement.
  • Boost your heart rate with mountain climbers for a burst of cardio.
  • Build upper body strength with push-ups, adapting the difficulty as needed.
  • Finish strong with squat thrusts for explosive energy and strength.

Exercises For Home

If you are busy, unable to get up early in the morning, or have no time for the gym, just follow this 20-minute home workout to stay healthy and fit. As a diabetic, you can't do anything wrong with daily exercise.

After each workout, cool down by walking around until your heart rate returns to normal. Remember to stretch your muscles, such as your calves, thighs, chest, shoulders, and back, for at least 5-10 minutes to improve flexibility and reduce soreness the next day.

1. Jogging or walking

Jog or walk in place for 3 minutes, keeping your back straight and core engaged. Pump your arms back and forth to increase intensity. You can also walk around your home, but jogging in place targets more muscles. Getting your heart rate up helps lower blood sugar after meals.

2. Jumping jacks

If jumping is too high impact, do step jacks instead by stepping your feet out to the side and in.

After jogging, do 25 jumping jacks continuously. Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Jump up while spreading your feet out wide and raising your arms overhead. Land softly with knees bent to absorb impact.

3. Crunches

If lying down is difficult, do seat crunches with your back against the wall instead.

Lie flat with knees bent and do 15 crunches. Place hands behind head, elbows out. Support neck without pulling. Flex abs to lift shoulders off floor without straining neck. Pause and slowly lower down.

4. Hip Bridges

Lie on your back and do 10 hip bridges. With your hands at a 90-degree angle to the floor, lift your body off the floor to form a straight line, a bridge, from the shoulders to the knee. The position should resemble a table, with your hands and legs as the legs of the table and your upper body and your knees as the surface. Hold this position for two seconds. Squeeze your glutes and then lower yourself.

5. Step-ups

You will need a stepper for this. Step up and down from the stepper with your feet. Left foot first on the stepper and switch your feed by stepping back off the stepper. Do this for 1 minute.

6. Reverse crunches

Do 15 reverse crunches. Lie on your back with your hands on your sides. Keep your knees bent. Bring your knees towards your head till your hips come slightly off the floor. Hold this position for a second, and then lower your knees.

7. Mountain climbers

Do 1 minute mountain climbers. Put yourself in the position of a runner in the starting blocks. Run in that position, supporting your upper body with the palms of your hands and moving your feet. Keep your back straight.

8. Push ups

Do 15 push-ups. You can choose to put your knees on the floor or stretch your legs and balance on your feet and hands. Lower your body down and push yourself back up.

9. Squat thrusts

Stand straight. Now, drop to a crouch position. Immediately thrust your legs out straight behind on your toes in a push-up position. Now jump to pull your legs back to the chest, crouching. Then, stand up straight. Do this for 1 minute.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many minutes a day should a diabetic exercise?

According to the American Diabetes Association , people with diabetes should engage in about 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least five days a week. This can include activities such as walking, dancing, or swimming. Additionally, incorporating strength exercises like lifting weights two days a week is beneficial. It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure that the exercise plan is appropriate and safe based on your individual needs.

What is the best exercise for people with diabetes?

Here are some types of exercises that are great for managing diabetes:

  • Aerobic Exercise: Things like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing are helpful. They keep your heart healthy, help with weight, and improve insulin.
  • Strength Training: This includes lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing exercises like squats and push-ups. It builds muscles, which can help control blood sugar.
  • Flexibility and Balance Workouts: Stretching, yoga, or tai chi can improve flexibility and balance and prevent injuries.
  • Interval Training: This means doing short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest or more accessible activities. It can boost your fitness and how your body handles insulin.

The key is to find exercises you like and can do regularly. Talk to your doctor or fitness professional to make a plan for your health goals.

Can walking 30 minutes a day lower blood sugar?

Walking for about 30 minutes daily, especially after meals, can greatly lower blood sugar levels. When you walk, your body becomes more efficient at using insulin, which helps regulate the sugar content in your blood. This supports better blood sugar control and contributes to managing your weight and keeping your heart healthy, which are crucial for managing diabetes effectively.

Experts recommend short walking after meals to prevent sharp rises in blood sugar levels. This post-meal walk helps to lower the sugar levels in your blood after eating, making it easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. However, how effectively walking will manage your blood sugar can vary from person to person based on factors like personal metabolism, diet, medications, and overall lifestyle. It's always advisable to consult with your doctor to determine the best approach for managing your blood sugar levels.

When is the best time to exercise for type 2 diabetes?

When you have type 2 diabetes, the best time to exercise depends on what works best for you. Some people like morning exercise because it boosts energy and helps regulate blood sugar all day. Others find it helpful to take a short walk or do light activities after meals to stabilize blood sugar levels. The key is to be consistent with your workouts, whether you prefer morning, afternoon, or evening sessions. And it's always best to talk to your doctor or a diabetes coach to figure out the best exercise plan for you.


Stepping into a healthier lifestyle doesn't require expensive equipment or hours at the gym. With this tailored 20-minute home workout, you're embracing a practical, effective way to manage your diabetes and enhance your vitality. Remember, consistency is key to seeing and feeling the benefits. So, lace up your sneakers, find your spot, and let’s move towards a healthier, happier you.


At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. WebMD The Best Exercises If You Have Diabetes
  2. American Diabetes Association Weekly Exercise Targets
  3. National Library of Medicine Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes
  4. American Diabetes Association Anaerobic Exercise and Diabetes
  5. American Diabetes Association The Benefits of Walking
  6. National Library of Medicine Is There an Optimal Time of Day for Exercise? A Commentary on When to Exercise for People Living With Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes
  7. Stanford Health Care Diabetes and Exercise

Leave a Reply

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

View All Articles