If you have diabetes, you're probably very aware that at least 30 minutes of exercise per day can be a great way to manage it. Exercise promotes weight loss and can prevent some of the more serious complications associated with the disease, and for those with pre-diabetes, it can actually reduce the risk of diabetes.
However, exercising doesn't have to be a huge ordeal. Certainly no one is asking you to lift weights in the Olympics next year, and you should make sure to talk to your doctor or diabetes educator before you start any exercise program to see how it will affect your blood sugar. After you get the scoop though, here are some ideas for good exercises that you can easily use to meet your goals.

You should try to get a well-balanced diet of exercise in your life. Exercise should include some aerobic exercise, some strength training, and some flexibility exercise. (This goes for all adults, not just those with diabetes. It's just good policy.) Here are a few ideas from each category.


  • Walking is still a good option for anyone, and it's easy to fit into your schedule. If you live close enough, walk to the store, or to work. If not, then instead of watching an hour of TV to clear your head and relax, watch a half-hour show and then take a brisk half-hour walk (while you listen to a Podcast or your favorite playlist, perhaps?)
  • Take an Aeorobics class - nothing too hard core, but some light aerobics in an environment where you feel motivated to go and to last all the way through.
  • Swimming can be both relaxing and very healthy
  • Fun stuff like roller blading, ice skating, dancing, or tennis.
  • Try treadmills or stationary bikes in winter to prevent your routine from being interrupted just because you don't want to go outside.

Strength Training

  • Join a gym and have someone show you how to work various muscles. More muscles burn more calories.
  • Try weight training at home with a small set of weights. Its doesn't take much when you just want to tone and build strength.


  • Make sure you're stretching when you exercise. This keeps your muscles limber for exercise and also keeps them healthier later on.
Finally, certain things are just good practice for a healthy lifestyle. Park far from the door when you go to the store and walk from the other end of the parking lot. Take the stairs. Do some vigorous house cleaning or yard work. Staying active will make you feel better, physically and mentally.