Physical Activity


Did you know that physical activity is one of the best ways to control your blood sugar? All Canadian adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity and three sessions of resistance activity every week.

Why is physical activity important?

Regular physical activity can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps to manage your blood glucose levels. When you are active, muscle uses up glucose (sugar) as a source of energy. Regular physical activity helps prevent glucose from building up in your blood.

Did You Know?

Low physical fitness is as strong a risk factor for mortality as smoking! Fitness level is one of the strongest predictors of all-cause mortality in people with diabetes.

What kind of activity is best?

Both aerobic and resistance exercise are important.

Aerobic exercise is continuous exercise such as walking, bicycling or jogging that increases breathing and heart rate.

Resistance exercise involves brief repetitive exercises with weights, weight machines, resistance bands or one’s own body weight to build muscle strength.

What exercises can you do?

  • Take the stairs
  • Work in the garden
  • Play with your kids
  • Mow your lawn (using a push-mower)
  • Walk around the mall
  • Cycle, swim, golf

No time to exercise? Too tired or simply not motivated?

These are all common barriers many people with diabetes face. Choose one barrier to work on at a time. Start by setting a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive).

Please read Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity or speak to your diabetic educator for an individualized plan.

We all know physical activity is good for our health, but what exactly are the benefits?

Almost everyone, whether or not they have diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Regular physical activity can help with weight loss, build stronger bones, improve blood pressure control, decrease rates of heart disease and cancer and increase energy levels.

Immediate benefits of Physical Activity:

  • Lowers your blood glucose within one hour
  • Gives you more energy and strength during the day
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves confidence and well-being

Long-term benefits of regular Physical Activity:

  • Improved blood glucose (sugar) control
  • Helps to maintain or lose weight
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Lower risk of diabetes complications such as eye, heart and kidney disease
  • Improved quality of life