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

Do more activities like housework or gardening and reduce time spent sitting. A simple way to start exercising is to walk.

  • Start by walking a comfortable distance at a speed and for a 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, work on achieving the exercise goals as recommended by doctors 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 exercise.
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.


  • 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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