Exercise is important for everyone. Exercise helps to lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure and builds extra blood vessels in the heart. This lets more blood flow to the heart.

The benefits of exercising for people with diabetes is worth the effort. Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and death by heart attack.

Even fast walking makes a difference. Exercise helps people lose weight. It can reduce the medication needed by some people with diabetes.

It is recommended everybody spends thirty minutes a day exercising.

Sometimes finding this amount of time is difficult. Sometimes the person is unable to exercise for this long. Then exercise for less time but for a number of times in one day - three, ten-minutes sessions.

Exercise is extremely important for people with diabetes because it burns up the extra glucose in the blood as energy. However, if too much glucose is burned up the person with diabetes runs the risk of having a hypo.

To avoid having health problems when exercising, a visit to the doctor is recommended before starting an exercise program.

The doctor will consider the blood glucose levels, any diabetes related complications, and the condition of the heart and blood vessels. Refer to the Diabetes Medical Management Plan.

The Doctor can Recommend

  • The type of exercise
  • How much exercise per week is required
  • How long the person should exercise
  • The food and drink for before, during and after exercise
  • Blood glucose testing
  • Medication use during exercise
  • Symptoms showing exercise should stop

Before Exercising, Check

  • To make sure the person is feeling well. If not, they should not exercise
  • That the person is wearing comfortable and well-fitting shoes

Check that the Person is Carrying

  • Water
  • Jellybeans or a sugary drink (if prone to hypoglycemia)
  • Some form of diabetes medical identification - particularly if they are on insulin or taking diabetes medication

During Exercise

Follow Doctor's recommendations regarding how long to exercise, when to test blood glucose levels and when to stop exercising.

After Exercise Check

Blood glucose levels can rise and fall for some time after exercise. Insulin doses or diet may need adjusting when a person exercises. This will need to be discussed with the doctor.

Getting Physical

Not everyone can exercise constantly for 30 minutes but most can try short bursts.

Use everyday activities and household tasks as a way of exercising, for example:


  •     Cleaning the house
  •     Watering the garden by hand
  •     Hanging out the washing
  •     Walking to the shop
  •     Walking the dog
  •     Parking the car away from the shops


Assist the person to try different types of exercise such as:


  •     Swimming
  •     Cycling
  •     Golf
  •     Dancing
  •     Walking on the Beach


Swimming, walking in the pool and hydrotherapy are gentle forms of exercise for people with mobility issues.

Water sports need careful planning and supervision because of the risk of hypoglycemia

Solutions from Carers

    "I encourage her to make her bed and do general household chores so she gets up and moves around"
    "We walk everyday and we make it fun by joining a walking group and a friend comes with us"
    " It's about attitude. Any exercise is better than none. Don't overdo it otherwise the person will rebel"
    "We used to start off with small trips just down to the bike path and now we are riding 5kms every day"
    "When I am with her I park as far away from the shops as I can to encourage her to walk"
    "All the people who support him have been asked to find ways either incidentally or deliberately to do exercise"
    "Hydrotherapy program"
    "We go into the mainstream classes and I make sure I have an instructor who slows it down and is understanding"Next: Activity


Write down:

What the person does for exercise and when




If any support is required to support their exercise program




Show this list to all key people.