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Diabetes and Exercise: Ideas to Get You Moving

Best Diabetes Exercises

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, just about any activity that gets your heart rate up or builds strength is a good idea. Anything from line dancing to table tennis can work. Here are a few to try.

  • Walk more -- briskly. For most people with diabetes, walking is a great choice. It's easy. You can do it anywhere. You don't need any gear besides a good pair of sneakers. If you have foot problems from diabetes, though, your doctor may advise you to do exercises that get you off your feet.
  • Get off your feet. If you have poor blood flow and nerve damage, opt for low-impact exercises to protect your feet from injury. Swimming and biking are both good choices.
  • Consider tai chi or yoga. Some studies show that both are good ways to lower blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes. They also help ease stress, expand your muscles' range of motion, and help improve balance, so you are less likely to fall.
  • Be safe when lifting weights. Starting a weight-training program can improve your glucose levels and how you feel. You want your routine to work major muscle groups in your upper and lower body and your core. If you have vision damage or kidney problems from diabetes, though, weightlifting can hurt blood vessels and worsen some conditions. In that case, talk to your doctor before you start lifting weights.