Aerobic Exercise for diabetes
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Aerobic Exercise for Diabetes (Aerobic exercise and diabetes)

The best physical activity for diabetes is Aerobic exercise. It provides cardiovascular conditioning if done daily or five days a week for 30 minutes. Aerobic exercise reduces the blood glucose level as well. Let us understand in detail what aerobic exercise is and why it is considered the best practice for diabetes.

aerobic exercise for diabetes
Aerobic exercise for diabetes

What is Aerobic Exercise?

The meaning of the word “Aerobic” is "with oxygen,". It implies the control of breathing and the oxygen amount that can be distributed to muscles to move. Aerobic exercise greatly improves cardiovascular conditioning this way. Read more to know about what level of blood sugar is dangerous?

Best aerobic exercise for diabetes

Here are 7 best aerobic exercises for diabetes:

1) Cycling

Approximately half of people with type 2 diabetes also have arthritis, which is characterised by joint inflammation. Obesity is one of numerous risk factors shared by both illnesses.

Furthermore, those with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage that can lead to joint pain.

Low impact activities are recommended if you are suffering pain in your lower joints. Cycling, for example, can help you achieve your fitness goals while putting less strain on your joints.

2) Walking

Getting active does not necessitate a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment. To get started, all you actually need are some comfortable shoes and a safe walking environment. In fact, you can meet the suggested minimum for aerobic fitness by going for a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week.

Walking is beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, according to new research from 2021. In this demographic, it has been proven to lower blood pressure, HbA1c levels, and body mass index.

Cycling is another excellent alternative for achieving your fitness objectives while minimising joint impact.

3) Swimming

Aquatic sports provide a useful option for joint-friendly exercise. Swimming, water aerobics, aqua jogging, and other water-based exercises give great cardiovascular and muscular training while reducing joint strain.

According to a 2017 review, water exercise has been proven to efficiently reduce blood sugar levels, similar to the impact of land-based activities.

4) Aerobic dance

Participating in an aerobic dance or fitness class might help you achieve your exercise goals. Zumba, for example, is a fitness programme that combines dance and aerobic movements to provide a dynamic exercise experience.

According to a 2015 study, women with type 2 diabetes showed greater motivation to exercise after participating in Zumba sessions for 16 weeks. In addition, participants saw increases in their aerobic fitness levels and lost weight.

5) Resistance band exercises

Resistance bands, in addition to weights, are useful instruments for strengthening your muscles. You can learn how to use resistance bands into your workouts by consulting a professional trainer, taking a resistance band class, or viewing instructional workout videos. Aside from increasing your strength, resistance band exercises may enhance your blood sugar control, according to a 2018 study.

6) Team sports

If you struggle to find the motivation to engage in physical activity, joining a recreational sports team may be beneficial. Participating in team sports not only allows for social interaction with teammates, but it also instills a sense of loyalty and responsibility to the group, which may be a powerful motivator to attend regular sessions.

A variety of recreational activities provide excellent possibilities for aerobic training. Basketball, soccer, softball, couples tennis and ultimate frisbee are some possible hobbies to consider.

7) Elliptical machine

Engaging in elliptical workouts, also known as cross trainer exercises, can improve blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar levels. Exercising causes our muscles to seek energy, causing them to use the sugar stored in our bodies. This sugar utilisation causes a reduction in blood glucose levels. Furthermore, exercise and physical activity are beneficial to insulin function.

What are the Benefits of aerobics for diabetes?

There are many benefits involved in aerobic exercise for diabetes. Below are a few of them.

  • Cardiovascular conditioning improvement
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Maintains blood pressure
  • Increases good cholesterol
  • Controls blood sugar
  • Maintains weight under control
  • It benefits lung function
  • Reduces the resting heart rate
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Exercise Safety for Diabetes

Whenever we try to begin a new exercise routine, consulting a physician is a must. Getting into riskier exercises is not safe or healthy without the physician's approval. We have to make sure of the limitations of exercise and intake of food before the exercise before proceeding to start the Aerobic exercise for diabetes.

Risky Symptoms

People who have heart diseases, diabetes, and pulmonary diseases require additional guidance to take certain exercises into practice. Even if others face any symptoms of any of the above-mentioned diseases, they should stop exercising. Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion, etc.

The output of the exercise depends on the workout you practice. Based on your target and the limitations you follow, you can easily determine and plan a perfect fitness level.

Determining Heart Rate & Right Intensity

The heart rate measurement depends on the schedule of your exercise. It may increase or decrease; this depends completely on the workout procedure you follow. If you are unsure about the range and limitations, consulting the physician is a must. Certain people maintain their health rate and train on the right path. The physician will help you analyse which range you should follow and your exercise regimen. Maintaining the appropriate rate is a must; else, it will lead to unavoidable health consequences. 

If you are taking any medication, you should inform your physician and get recommendations on the intensity of your exercise. 

The RPE chart will help in configuring the intensity of heart rate. The rating system lies between 1 and 10. Ten is the most-efficient exercise and a significant level for working out. If you are exercising at ten, a professional trainer or physician should be with you to monitor your heart rate. 

Before you start aerobic exercise, do a little warm-up. It should not be hard stretching. Increase gradually from basic to intermediate learning. Following aerobic exercise regulates blood flow in muscles, legs, and the body. The warm-up practice should not be more than 10 minutes. 

Classification of Aerobic Exercises

There are two classifications of aerobic exercise:

  • Lower impact
  • Higher impact

Depending on people's health conditions and capabilities, they can prefer a particular set of exercises. But without consulting a professional, even taking the lower impact aerobic exercise can lead to life-threatening situations.

Low-impact Aerobic Exercises

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical trainer - equipment
  • Walking
  • Rowing
  • Ergometer – It is equipment that offers cardiovascular exercises. Using the ergometer for upper body exercises comes under lower impact aerobic exercise.

High-impact Aerobic Exercises

  • Running.
  • Jumping rope
  • Step aerobics

Frequency of Aerobic Exercises

The American Heart Association suggests that people should constantly practice aerobic exercise for diabetes for at least 30 minutes a day, and it should be done 5 to 7 days a week. The time interval should not be more than 10 minutes. By continuously practising the above schedule, people can witness an enormous change in their health. They can reduce the risk of getting the following diseases:

  • Heart disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

People who participate in marathons prefer aerobic exercise to get enormous strength. Moreover, the main advantage is that you can burn calories similar to the walking exercise. But following the schedule is a must to attain the benefits.

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests a certain exercise procedure to increase cardiorespiratory issues and maintain weight. At least 30 minutes of 3 sessions should be taken to get the efficient exercise that helps improve the cardiorespiratory and reduce weight.

Skipping the routine of aerobic exercise for diabetes is not advisable. Take rest only if you feel intense pain in the chest and body or if suggested by your trainer. Else, continue to take the exercises as per the 30 minutes schedule. If the pain continues in taking the high impact exercises, you can eventually change it to lower impact exercises to avoid complications. High impact exercises provide pain at the early stage, but you will not feel much pain later on.


The advancement to higher strength of exercise should depend on individual exercise resilience. Below are the three challenging methods of aerobic exercises.

  • Increase speed
  • Increase resistance
  • Increase the duration

These three methods will help develop the impacts of aerobic exercise. It should be maintained efficiently, and switching the exercises from lower impact to higher impact has to be informed to a physician. Without approval, no exercises have to be changed.


What type of exercise is best for diabetes? 

The best kind of exercise for those with diabetes is Aerobic exercise. If done consistently for at least 5 days of the week, it can provide cardiovascular conditioning. It reduces the blood glucose level by controlling breathing and the distribution of oxygen to the muscles for movement. 

How many days a week should a diabetic exercise? 

The aim should be to get at least 5 to 6 days of exercise every week. About 30 minutes a day is enough if you are aiming for 5 days a week. 

Should a diabetic exercise on an empty stomach? 

Exercising before breakfast or on an empty stomach can be harmful as it can raise blood sugar levels. It has been recommended that you should consult your doctor before starting an exercise regime. 

What exercises should diabetics avoid?

People with diabetes should avoid Extreme exertion, heavy lifting or straining, and isometric exercises. Diabetics may have further health complications due to fluctuating sugar levels like high blood pressure, thyroid, and so on. When exercising it is important to remember how these health issues may become dangerous and those kinds of exercises should be avoided. For example, someone with high blood pressure should avoid doing any high-intensity exercises.




This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.