After a healthy diet, physical activity is the next focus point for adults with type 2 diabetes.
Physical activity includes all movement that increases energy use and is an important part of the diabetes management plan. Exercise is a specific form of activity designed to improve physical fitness. Physical activity and exercise are important.

Getting active

Its important to increase physical activities. These include housework, gardening or walking.

  • Start by walking a comfortable distance at a speed and length of time.
  • Increase your distance by 10% per week.
  • After reaching 45 to 60 minutes per day, increase the intensity of exercise.

After getting more active, you can start exercising as recommended by doctors for people with type 2 diabetes.

Exercise program recommended for people with type 2 diabetes.

Examples Intensity Frequency
Cycling, brisk walking, continuous swimming, dancing, water
Moderate :

50-70% of maximum heart rate*

Minimum :

150 minutes per week

Brisk walking up an incline, jogging aerobics, hockey,
basketball, fast swimming, fast dancing
Vigorous :

>70% of maximum heart rate*

Minimum :

75 minutes per week

Equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic
Examples Frequency
Exercise with weight machines or exercise bands, free weight
2-3 times per week:

Start with one set of 10-15
repetitions at moderate weight

Progress to 2 sets of 10-15

Progress to 3 sets of repetitions at heavier weights.

*Maximum heart rate= ~220 – Age. For 45 year old, the maximum heart rate =  220-45=175 beats per minute. So 70% exercise= 122 beats per minute.


  • In people taking insulin, exercise may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if the medication dose or the carbohydrate intake is not altered. Speak to your doctor as snack size and insulin dose may need to be individualized.

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