Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    How to Start (or Restart) an Exercise Program

    By Lisa Hill
    WebMD Feature

    Just because exercise is a key way to manage your type 2 diabetes, it doesn't mean you have to get up at 5 a.m. and jog around your neighborhood.

    Start small and pick something you enjoy, like dancing, gardening, or even walking your dog. Then celebrate your successes. It's OK if you're starting back up after not having worked out for a while.

    Recommended Related to Diabetes

    Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work

    When television's perennially popular Mary Richards walked into WJM's Minneapolis newsroom in 1970, she did more than show the world a single girl could "make it on her own." The award-winning actress who portrayed her -- Mary Tyler Moore -- also showed us diabetes and a career could coexist. Moore was diagnosed with adult-onset type 1 diabetes in the 1960s, several years before her Emmy-winning show began. But that didn't stop Moore from pursuing her career or turning the world on with a smile...

    Read the Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work article > >

    "People just think it's this overwhelming thing, and they can't get started, but once they do and they're successful, it does become part of their life," says Karen Kemmis, DPT, a certified diabetes educator at SUNY Upstate Medical University. "A lot of people find they feel so good after they exercise."

    Exercise does more than make you feel stronger and give you energy. It also helps insulin work better in your body. 

    Before you start, talk to your doctor, especially if you have complications from diabetes. Once you get the go-ahead:

    Set goals. Think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to play with your kids or grandchildren without huffing and puffing? Is your focus on losing weight and getting fit? Do you want to have less pain or improve your blood sugar levels? 

    Write down your goals so you can look at them when you're tempted to stay in bed or watch TV.  

    Start slowly. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes at a time. As you get stronger, go longer or do it more than once a day. Work toward 150 minutes a week. Try not to go more than 2 days in a row without exercise. 

    Do a combo of activity that gets your heart pumping, like swimming and jogging. Also, try strength training, like lifting weights or using resistance bands.

    Listen to your body. If you have pain during one exercise, switch to something else. If walking hurts your back, knees, or feet, try a stationary bike or water aerobics. 

    Your diabetes educator, physical therapist, or doctor can help find something that works for you.

    Find a comfortable place. If you're self-conscious about going to the gym, look for a program where you'll feel like you fit in. Check out your local community center or an exercise facility that attracts people you'd feel comfortable working out with.

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    bald woman smelling flowers
    Complementary therapies to ease symptoms.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes highlighted
    4 early warning signs.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    Senior woman using diabetes test kit
    Each one takes 10 minutes or less.
    woman having a good day
    Revitalize your life.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.