Suitable And Unsuitable Exercises For Type 2 Diabetes

Suitable And Unsuitable Exercises For Type 2 Diabetes

Suitable And Unsuitable Exercises For Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise is an inevitable part of the diabetic treatment strategy. It helps in improving blood circulation, lowers cholesterol levels, improves muscle mass and increases stamina. Exercise reduces the risk of diabetic complications. However, it should be performed by a diabetic patient after consulting with a doctor or a physiotherapy expert. It is because performing the exercise by patients with various diabetic complications may worsen the condition.

Unsuitable Exercises For Type 2 Diabetes

Incorporating exercise is one of the lifestyle change that the doctor advises to every diabetic patient, whether recently diagnosed or is suffering from diabetes from a very long time. Exercise helps to manage blood sugar levels and also helps to reduce cardiovascular complications. However, in some cases, precautions should be followed as some exercises in a particular patient may lead to complications. Type of exercise to be performed or avoided, depends upon the severity of disease and the associated complications. Diabetes is a disease, if poorly managed, may lead to life-changing complications including neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy. Exercise precautions should be taken in type 2 diabetes. Following are some of the exercises that are performed with caution:

1. Strenuous Exercises

Patient with diabetes should not perform strenuous exercises. High impact exercise and keeping your head upside down for a very long time may lead to adverse effects. Patients with retinal complications should avoid exercises such as heavy lifting as this may cause retinal detachment or vitreous hemorrhage. Jogging and weightlifting are not suitable for such patients while swimming and brisk walking are acceptable for these patients.

2. Repetitive Weight-Bearing Exercises

Repetitive weight bearing high impact exercises should be avoided by the patients who are suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, especially in the feet. If the diagnostic tests such as vibration sense or position sense indicate the presence of peripheral neuropathy, the patient should avoid step exercises and extensive walking. These exercises should be avoided because repetitive pressure on the affected foot increases the risk of fractures and ulceration.

3. Totally Avoiding Exercise

If the fasting plasma glucose levels are found to be above 250mg/dl and ketones are present, such patient should completely avoid exercise. If the exercise is done with ketones present, there is a high risk of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is the condition that requires immediate medical intervention. Caution is required while exercising with blood sugar level over 250mg/dl but without ketone bodies.

4. Exercises Involving Vigorous Sessions

Patient with cardiac autonomic neuropathy are at increased risk of sudden death and ischemia. Patients with autonomic neuropathy have poor thermoregulation, thus these patients should not exercise in a hot and cold environment. Also, such patients also have poor blood pressure control that may lead to hypotension or hypertension.

Tips For Safe Exercise In Diabetes

Following are some of the tips for safe exercise in diabetics:

  • Check for your blood glucose levels before and after exercise.
  • Keep fast-acting carbohydrates to manage hypoglycemia.
  • Drink plenty of fluid during sessions.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • Do not use insulin just before exercise as it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Track your sugar level in reference to different exercises and environments.
  • Do not forget to do warming and cooling down exercises.
  • Take good care of your body and avoid any injury while doing exercise.

Suitable Exercises For Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise helps in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels can be managed through exercises. Various studies have shown the positive effect of exercise on diabetic patients. Following are some of the exercises that may help patients with diabetes:

1. Stationary Bicycling

Stationary bicycling can be done irrespective of the outside weather. It helps i maintain the weight of the patient. It also helps in improving blood circulation, which helps reducing diabetic complications. It improves heart functions and increases the breathing capacity of lungs.

2. Swimming

Swimming helps improve the flexibility of muscles without imparting any pressure on joints. Further, it also helps in reducing cholesterol and helps to manage stress. Swimming is also known for burning excess calories. Swimming should be done for at least three times a week.

3. Walking

Walking is one of the simplest exercises with huge benefits. Walking increases muscle strength and improves the activity of the heart. It also helps improve digestion. Walking reduces the blood sugar level and helps to increase the use of insulin by the body.

4. Weight Training

Improving muscle mass is beneficial in managing diabetes. Studies indicate that people who lose muscle mass have difficulty managing blood sugar level. Weight training exercises help to build muscle mass. When the muscle mass is increases, the ability of the muscles to store glucose increases.

5. Tai chi

Tai chi is a form of Chinese traditional exercise in which slow movements are performed. It helps in reducing the stress levels. Further, it also helps to reduce damage to the nerves due to diabetes. Studies indicate that people who have undergone Tai chi sessions have better control on blood sugar level.


Suitability of exercise in diabetic patients depends upon the severity of disease and related complications. Some exercises such as jogging and weightlifting should be avoided by people with diabetic retinopathy while some exercises such as extensive walking, should not be performed by patient with peripheral neuropathy, especially affecting the feet.


Rohit Jain

Rohit Jain is an IPR Specialist and Medical Content Writing Expert. For over a decade, he has written several articles in the areas of female infertility, Erectile dysfunction, hemangioma, cervical cancer, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, mononucleosis, mitral valve disorder, nerve sheath tumor, shin splints, mild cognitive impairment, cellulitis, brain metastases, atelectasis, MCAD deficiency, lymphoma, sepsis, cardiac rehabilitation and metabolic disorder among others.