Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Exercise Helps Diabetics Live Longer


Getting started is the hardest part, he says. "People always say they feel better when they are exercising. The type of exercise plan that you can stick to is one that can be incorporated into your daily routine -- whether walking to the office, walking to the car, or even walking around the house."

In an editorial accompanying the new study, Charles M. Clark Jr., MD, writes that "general admonishments to get more exercise are as unlikely to work as general advice to eat less or stop smoking. Specific programs need to be prescribed, and follow-up is essential." He is with the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

"Type 2 diabetics usually are overweight, and exercise of any sort will help them lose weight and lower blood glucose levels," says Davida Kruger, MSN, RN, a diabetes nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

"We're not talking about running marathons," she says. "Any sort of exercise will do, whether walking around the block, mall walking, or riding a stationary bicycle. We are talking about moving more than you are moving now."

Exercise will improve heart function, lower blood glucose levels, and help control weight, she adds. "It's of great benefit to patients, and if they monitor their blood sugar, they can really see the benefit."

"Exercise does make a difference," agrees Lisa Hoffman, MA, a New York City-based exercise physiologist and owner of Solo Fitness in New York. "I recommend a well-rounded, general program of aerobic activity and strength training. It's also important that people with diabetes make sure they have eaten before activity."

Vital Information:

  • The benefits of exercise are well documented, but regular physical activity may be even more beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
  • Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with weight loss, improved nutrition, and exercise, but sometimes their condition requires medications.
  • In a 12-year study, men with type 2 diabetes who were physically inactive were twice as likely to die compared to those who were active.
1 | 2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner