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Diabetes & Movement

It's been a great November learning and spreading awareness in honor of National Diabetes Month. Together we've learned the types and causes, risk factors and symptoms, and had the opportunity to interview Donna — a licensed counselor living with type 1 diabetes. To wrap up this month, we'll discuss diabetes and the benefits of movement.

Diabetes is a tricky disease and presents itself differently for everyone, but one fact that holds true — management is necessary for all.

We're Onthemuv because we understand that Movement Unleashes Vitality. Movement  — or physical activity — is extremely beneficial for everyone especially for those living with diabetes.

It's important to incorporate movement into your daily routine, break up sitting times every 30 mins, and/or move while seated.

The Benefits of Movement


According to the American Diabetes Association, the adoption and maintenance of physical activity are critical for managing blood glucose and overall health in individuals with diabetes and prediabetes.

The general rule to follow: aim for — at least — 30 mins of physical activity five days a week and 2 days of strength training.

For type 2 diabetes — the most common type — regular exercise: (1)

  • Improves blood glucose control
  • Reduces cardiovascular risk factors
  • Contributes to weight loss
  • Improves well-being

For those who are prediabetic or in normal blood glucose ranges, regular exercise may prevent or delay type 2 diabetes development.

For type 1 diabetes, regular exercise:(2)

Physical Activity Recommendations 


Diabetes type, activity type, and presence of diabetes-related complications all add challenges to blood glucose management. Recommendations need to be tailored to meet the needs of each individual. Be sure to consult with your care team before starting a new exercise routine.

Below are the recommendations by type from the American Diabetes Association.

Type 2 Diabetes 

  1. Daily Exercise (not allowing more than two days to elapse between exercise sessions) is recommended to enhance insulin action
  2. Adults should ideally perform both aerobic and resistance exercises for optimal glycemic and health outcomes

High Risk/Prediabetes

Structured lifestyle interventions that include:

  1. At least 150 min/week of physical activity
  2. Dietary changes resulting in 5% - 7% weight loss

are recommended to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes 

  1. Blood glucose responses to physical activity in all people with type 1 diabetes are highly variable based on the activity type/duration and require different adjustments
  2. Additional carbs and/or insulin reductions are typically required to maintain glycemic balance during and after physical activity.
  3. Frequent blood glucose checks are required to implement carb intake or insulin dose adjustment.
  4. Continuous glucose monitoring during physical activity to detect hypoglycemia.

Get MUVing

All movement is beneficial to your health, but figuring out where to start can be stressful. Here are some ways you can get MUVing:

Aerobic Exercise - repeated and continuous movement of large muscle groups

  • Walking
  • Riding a bike
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Dance
  • Take the stairs

If you're like the majority of Americans who sit more than 6 hours a day, then the miniTREAD® is a perfect option to move while seated.

Resistance Training - any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance

  • Free weights (dumbbells)
  • Weight Machines
  • Body Weight Exercises ( squats, pushups, leg raises, etc.)

Flexibility/Balance Exercises - keep your muscles elastic and your joints moving freely

  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Tai Chi

MUVing Forward 

Incorporating more movement into your daily life doesn't have to be a chore. Make exercise fun! You have full control of how you incorporate movement/exercise into your life. Talk with your care team and devise an exercise routine that works for you.

Start off by:

  1. Identifying a list of activities you enjoy doing that also promotes movement.
  2. Make small changes in your day-to-day routine that increases your physical activity

It can be as simple as parking further away at stores and taking the stairs when possible! Now go out there and let Movement Unleash Vitality!

For additional resources and information on managing diabetes, visit The American Diabetes Association website. 



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