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You’ve heard the advice: Get active at least 30 minutes every day. But if you’re short on time and the idea of the gym doesn’t thrill you, you've come to the right place. We've got tips for getting active outside of the gym, along with a checklist for safe exercise when you have diabetes.

The benefits of exercise are many, especially if you have diabetes. Exercise helps you burn extra sugar in your body and helps improve insulin sensitivity. It burns calories too, helping you lose extra body fat. Exercise can also relieve stress and boost your mood and overall health.

Aerobic exercise can lower your chance of heart disease, a special problem if you have diabetes. Resistance exercise builds muscle, which helps you burn fat and control your sugar levels.

Exercise Tips for a Healthier You

Exercise will help you control your diabetes and have fewer of the problems diabetes can cause. Keep in mind these tips to exercise safely with diabetes:

  • Get your doctor’s OK before starting an exercise program. Make sure your doctor reviews your diabetes drugs.
  • Carry at least 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate in case of low blood sugar. It might be a half-cup of fruit juice, 5 hard candies, or glucose tablets or gels that equal 15 grams.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes that are for the activity you’re doing, and choose athletic polyester socks. They dry quicker and cause less friction than all-cotton socks.
  • Inspect your feet before and after exercise. Check for blisters or sores.
  • Drink plenty of fluid before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet or carry a medical ID in your pocket.
  • Check your blood sugar level before and after exercise to make sure it’s in your target range. Your doctor can tell you what it should be before you start exercising. This is very important if you take insulin. After an intense workout or exercising for a long time, you may want to eat something with at least 5 grams of carbohydrates within 2 hours. This will help you avoid low blood sugar.
  • If you become shaky, anxious, or more sweaty than usual, or feel a change in your heartbeat, stop exercising right away and check your blood sugar. If it is low, follow your doctor’s advice about how to treat it.
  • Always warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at the start of your workout. For instance, walk or bike slowly. Do 5 to 10 minutes of cool-down and gentle stretches at the end.