Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Diabetic Neuropathy: Exercising Safely - Topic Overview

    Regular exercise may help control your diabetes, which can reduce your risk of severe diabetic neuropathy. Depending on what areas of your body have been affected by nerve damage, though, you may need to modify some aspects of your exercise program so that other problems don't develop.

    Before beginning an exercise program, ask your doctor to do a thorough exam of your legs and feet for signs of peripheral neuropathy. And make sure you have properly fitted shoes to protect your feet from injury.

    Recommended Related to Diabetes

    Diabetes-Friendly Summer Grill Recipes

    Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, WebMD's director of nutrition, created this delicious and colorful meal of grilled salmon with black bean corn salsa and salad. It's a low-calorie lunch or dinner that is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The balance of complex carbs, protein, and good fats makes it diabetes-friendly, too. Southwestern Grilled Salmon Makes 4 servings Ingredients cooking spray 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp chili powder dash of salt freshly...

    Read the Diabetes-Friendly Summer Grill Recipes article > >

    Exercising safely with foot problems

    If you have nerve damage in your feet, you need to avoid repetitive, weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging, prolonged walking, and step aerobics. Repetitive stress on feet affected by neuropathy can lead to ulcers, fractures, and joint deformities. Stick to exercises that do not put stress on your feet, such as:

    • Swimming.
    • Bicycling.
    • Rowing.
    • Seated exercises.
    • Arm and upper-body exercises.
    • Other non-weight-bearing exercises.

    Avoiding heart and blood pressure problems

    Autonomic neuropathy affecting the heart and blood vessels may limit-but not eliminate-your capacity for exercise. It increases your risk of having a heart attack (often a silent heart attack) during strenuous exercise and may cause sudden shifts in your blood pressure during or after exercise. Make sure you talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program. He or she can help you plan a gentle program that will improve your health without pushing you beyond your body's limits.

    Maintaining safe body temperature during exercise

    Autonomic neuropathy may reduce the body's ability to regulate its own temperature (thermoregulation). Abnormally profuse or abnormally reduced sweating are the usual signs of this problem. People with this type of neuropathy should not exercise in very hot or very cold environments because their bodies cannot safely adapt to these temperatures. Use silica gel or air midsoles and wear polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep your feet dry during exercise. It is also important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. The body is better able to control its temperature when it is well hydrated.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Diabetic Neuropathy: Exercising Safely Topics

    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
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow