Exercise is a part of the foundation for perfecting your diabetes management. But what are the best exercises for diabetics? We'll be explaining tips and tricks on how to train and exercise and keep your diabetes well under control.

In this article you will learn about:

  • How to motivate myself to exercise?
  • Different types of exercises for diabetics
  • Does a personal trainer improve my exercise?
  • Is water an important substance while working out?


Believe me, living a life with diabetes is not an easy job. It's a life-changing moment when someone is diagnosed with diabetes. The whole lifestyle of that person becomes more health-oriented. There are a lot of exercises that help you out in maintaining your sugar levels and live the healthy life you always dreamed of.

How to motivate myself as a diabetic to exercise?

Many people, even diabetics, feel that they should exercise a little more. Yet, it often turns out to be difficult to maintain this healthy habit. Here are few tips to motivate yourself to exercise!

1. Keep the habit

Don't let anything or anyone fool you. If you already exercise regularly at this point, keep this habit. Don't throw in the towel at the slightest thing, but keep going and motivate yourself to exercise regularly.

2. Force yourself to exercise

You've already delivered 80% of the performance if you've gotten yourself to go to the gym (or if you're outside on your running shoes / skates / bike). Once you get there, all you have to do is exercise. Force yourself to hit the road and don't linger on the couch. Once you're there, the rest usually goes without saying.

3. Make and keep it fun for yourself

Exercise doesn't have to be a boring torture. Are you going to a gym? Then take your phone with you and listen to your favorite music, an audiobook or a podcast. You can also choose a sport that you really enjoy, such as football, tennis, hockey, swimming or volleyball. Social contact can also make sports much more fun.

4. Motivate yourself by exercising with a friend

Exercising together is more fun and motivating. Moreover, the social contact also makes exercising easy. You can inspire each other to persevere if you don't feel like it anymore.

5. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else

See sports as an investment in your own body and mind. Go for yourself and don't worry too much about what others think. It is your body and you want to live a healthy life.

Cardio exercices and diabetes

Whether you're a diabetic or not, cardio exercises will improve your blood sugar levels. During cardio your body consumes all excess fat and more oxygen, resulting in pumping more oxygen to your muscles. Instead of taking cardiovascular medicines, cardio exercises are a good option. They appeal to multiple joints and engage more than one muscle group. They improve coordination and increase heart rate.

If you want to lose weight, then cardio exercises should be on your daily checklist. You will probably burn more calories with these powerful, high-intensity workouts than with a slow endurance workout.

Adapt the exercise time and intensity level depending upon your current sugar levels, diabetes type and the medicines you take.

Insulin sensitivity during workouts

Research show that a more organic and stable way of enhancing insulin sensitivity is diabetes related exercises. A one hour walk at a moderate speed improves your insulin sensitivity for approximately two days. Different sort of resistance exercises also play a vital role in this.

Now the question is what the resistance exercises at home are? All  exercises which pushes you to your limit and improves your stamina are resistance exercises at home. To improve your insulin sensitivity you can easily do one of the following workouts.

  • Push-Ups
  • Chin-Ups
  • Deadlifts
  • Crunches 
  • Bench presses

Diabetes workout at home

The first thing when we think about the gym is intense workouts and a tight schedule. Do we have time for this and should I really go? Going to a gym is easy, in most cases, but maintaining this routine throughout the year is challenging. So, most of the people end up doing their workout at home .

Diabetes demands good planning for taking managing your diabetes before, during and after a workout. Keeping this planing in mind, most people diabetics try to do their exercises at home. You find the best 20 minute home workout here

5 ultimate exercises for diabetics

Aerobics like running, cycling, jogging and jumping increases your stamina. Yoga, Thai Chi and other balance exercises help you out in gaining stability and training your joints. Weight lifting or more heavy use of your muscles are used to enhance muscle growth.

Any movement which benefits your health is considered an exercise. Maintaining blood sugar levels with a diet plan is not enough. You also have to make sure you are active. Every person has different likings and lifestyles when it comes to exercise. Some like to do hardcore workouts and some like mind-body synchrony. We have chosen five ultimate exercises for diabetics.

  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Thai Chi


Only a few exercises activate all your muscles at once, and swimming is one of them.

From the beginning, people love to swim and enjoy it, but who knows, it also has excellent healing capacity. It helps in weight loss and maintaining blood sugar levels.

The best thing about swimming is that it doesn't put pressure on joints. If you have diabetes and rising cholesterol, then you must try it once. You can start it from shorter time intervals to longer ones.


Yoga is a state of extreme balance, where your whole body becomes one unit. Most of the diseases are cured by only yoga, like different sorts of chronic issues. Yoga also helps in balancing blood sugar levels and mental state. If you lose your temper due to diabetic routine, 30-45 minutes of yoga can transform your whole day.


Exhale and inhale are the two-opposite process. Without them, life is impossible.

When you inhale air, oxygen moves into your veins and filter your blood.

By walking, you make this process faster; hence more clean blood circulates in your body. Diabetes can't be cure by walking, but if you're interested in controlling it, you have to do it.


Our every emotion and especially health is related to Hormones. A little change in hormones can make your life heaven and hell also.

Dancing makes people feel happy, energetic, and it's a healthy exercise. The most famous example of controlling health by dancing is ZUMBA. Due to diabetes, most of the time, people become extra conscious. Dancing neutralizes your mood and diabetics health.

Thai Chi

It is an ancient exercise of Chinese culture with a variety of slow-motion moves. The best thing about Tai chi is that people with diabetes can do them easily due to relaxation. It's beneficial for both type 1 and types 2 diabetes. The University of Florida had done different kinds of experiments on it to prove its credibility.

Does it help to drink plenty of water?

It's proven and tested fact that drinking enough water can lower the blood pressure and help detox the body cells. Water eliminates harmful substances in your body and provides the pancreas with a more efficient way to maintain the sugar levels in your blood.

Drinking water can help you get a faster metabolism and thus burn more calories. Drinking water gives a fuller feeling and reduces the risk of a need for (high-calorie) food. Drinking water instead of diet soda can increase insulin sensitivity.

During exercise you lose a lot of moisture through sweating and those who do not drink in time will suffer from dehydration or cramps. Your blood thickens and it takes your heart more effort to pump it around, resulting in less oxygen and energy.

Can exercise reverse diabetes?

It is believed that exercise can reverse diabetes and has long-lasting effects on your health. The diabetic dealing with type 1 is already immunocompromised and it can't be reversed. They can start with physical activity but it will only affect their overall health and the their diabetes management.

While the diabetic with type 2 will see more effects of exercise. They can possibly reverse their diabetes when doing more exercise and staying active. Of course also a healthy lifestyle and diet is required to see these effects. 

Conclusion: What are the benefits exercising as a diabetic?

As we all know, a daily exercising routine, staying healthy and strong will help you managing your diabetes. A physically fit body releases endorphins and helps to fight with diabetes, anxiety and any bad feelings. 

A good exercise plus a healthy diet can save you from many diseases, and diabetes is one of them. Unfortunately, diabetes type 1 has no cure , while diabetes type 2 can be reversed when leading a healthy lifestyle and doing regular exercises. If I talk about the overall effects of exercise on the body, you will come across many benefits that you can comprehend immediately.

  • A daily workout for 10 minutes will improve your blood flow in the body
  • Aerobics and physical activity will maintain your blood sugar level
  • High blood sugars are controlled with plenty of water intake after your exercise
  • By doing exercises, you can save yourself from many diabetes related issues like glaucoma, retinopathy and diabetic feet. Exercise will help lower the risks.

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.

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