Exercising With Type II Diabetes


When you first hear the words, "You have diabetes." from your caregiver I can only imagine the emotions that follow. I got a taste of this world with my last pregnancy. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and for 3 months had to follow a strict diet and monitor my blood sugars.


Everything happens for a reason and as a trainer I was opened up to a world I have never understood and to frustrations that many people around me deal with silently. Ironically, I started the research for this blog to fill the time as I was doing my 2 hour glucose test for my pregnancy and am writing it after I was diagnosed and lived through it. I have a real passion to encourage and help those living a life with this disease.


Here are some exercise basics for Type II diabetics to get you off to the right start if able to exercise. (Please check with your doctor before starting.)


Getting Started:

1. Diet and exercise has been proven to help control glucose levels, but you still need to check with your doctor to see if it is right for you.

2. Wear appropriate foot wear to avoid blisters and micro trauma.

3. Eat carbs or take insulin before and after exercise to avoid a hypoglycemic event.

4. A 200-300 calorie burn is recommended per workout.

5. If you are obese and are choosing to work out at a gym, machines might be awkward for you. Try working with dumbbells, exercise bands or cables. It is important that you feel comfortable in your environment.



1. Low impact cardio such as cycling, walking on a treadmill, walking outside, and low impact aerobics is recommended.

2. How often? 4-7 days per week.

3. How long? 20-60 minutes.

4. Try to keep your heart rate 50-90% of your Max Heart Rate 


Weight Training:

1. 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

2. How often? 2-3 days per week.

(Weight bearing exercises may need to be avoided to prevent blisters and micro trauma. Ask your caregiver about this.)


It is my hope that you can live a life free from disease and I know the power of proper nutrition and exercise. Best of luck as you start your journey and don't give up. Expect the ups and downs but know that if you keep at it you can reach your destination and live a healthier life.


References: National Academy of Sports Medicine




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