ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why is Exercise Important for Diabetics?

Updated on October 19, 2018
It's important for individuals with type 2 diabetes, and those at risk for developing it, to exercise regularly.
It's important for individuals with type 2 diabetes, and those at risk for developing it, to exercise regularly. | Source

Exercising with Diabetes

Exercise is an integral component of treatment in type 2 diabetes. It is a factor in weight control and has been found to lower BG levels to the point of reducing or eliminating the need for oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin for persons with type 2 diabetes. Everyone, whether diabetic or not, benefits from physical activity which helps to maintain good cardiovascular health.

Always Check with a Health Provider Before Beginning New Exercises

Because of potential nerve damage from long-standing diabetes, medical input should always be sought before exercise is undertaken. For example, the heart rate response to exercise may be impaired. This could result in oxygen deprivation if the activity is too strenuous. Children and adults who are on insulin may need to lower their insulin dose while increasing their carbohydrate intake if their physical activity level is increased over usual amounts.

Benefits of Exercising while Diabetic

  • Helps to lower excess body weight, which increases how well insulin works.
  • Improves muscle strength.
  • Increases bone density and strength.
  • Exercise helps to lower blood pressure.
  • It can also help improve blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of heart problems.
  • Also improves the strength of the heart, and helps to lower bad cholesterol.

Challenges when Exercising for Diabetics

When a person with type 2 diabetes exercises, it may naturally be more challenging, because of differences in the body composition. Low muscle glycogen levels have been noted in type 2 diabetes. Without adequate glycogen stores, fatigue induced by exercise can become more pronounced.

For this reason, people with type 2 diabetes should begin with slow exercises that gradually increase as the patient's endurance increases.

Monitoring their blood glucose levels is an important daily task that those with diabetes have to deal with.
Monitoring their blood glucose levels is an important daily task that those with diabetes have to deal with. | Source

Dangers of Hyperglycemia

In type 1 diabetes with a ketotic or hyperglycemic state, exercise can actually increase glucose levels further.

This is primarily because insulin is a prerequisite for glucose usage in exercising muscles. Hyperglycemia is generally indicative of insufficient insulin. The general rule of thumb is to eat at least 15 g of carbohydrates for every 1 hour of exercise as based on weight and insulin. is acting at peak levels.

These guidelines help prevent the development of severe hypoglycemia, which is caused by excess insulin to the amount.


The use of SMBG (or Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose) can serve as a valuable tool in determining the best way to adjust insulin before, during, and after exercise. Instead, amounts of carbohydrates may need to be consumed for up to 24 hours after strenuous exercise, while the body replenishes its glycogen stores and allows for stable blood glucose.

Testing the blood glucose level at 3 am is warranted after increased exercise, to ensure there is no post-exercise hypoglycemia This time of night is when the body cells tend to be the most sensitive to insulin.

Total Body Exercise for Diabetics


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • hrymel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thanks, I hope the information helps to keep your mother motivated with her exercise routine.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My mother has diabetes. I'll pass this hub along to her. Very well written.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)