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Exercise and type 2 diabetes

A healthy diet and more exercise are usually the first things you are encouraged to try in the early stages of type 2 diabetes. But even as the disease progresses, exercise remains a big part of managing diabetes. 

Regular exercise can help you control your blood sugar levels, lose weight and improve your physical and mental health.

Get active

Even a small increase in physical activity can make a difference. If you have not been active for a while, start with just 5–10 minutes exercise a day and then add a few minutes each week until you reach your goal.

When starting a new routine, find an activity that suits you. This will make you more likely to stick with it and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Here are some ideas for low-impact activities to help you get started.  

  •  Stretching and balancing activities like pilates increase flexibility and strength and can prepare you for other activities, like swimming
  • Tai chi builds upper body strength, reduces stiffness and combines mindfulness to help you stay focused
  • Dancing is an aerobic activity: it raises your heart rate, burns calories and fat and can support cardiovascular health
  • Exercising with weights can build strength and help with weight loss. If you are not experienced, do not try this without supervision
  • Walking or hiking are enjoyable ways to spend time with friends or family – just make sure you wear suitable shoes
  • Swimming is easy on the joints and works all the main muscle groups

No matter which activity you pick, what is important is that you incorporate as much movement as you can into your day.  Just remember to exercise safely - check with your doctor before you start any exercise more strenuous than a walking programme.

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