Does Exercise help people with Type 2 Diabetes? 

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Understanding Blood sugar and Exercise 

Based on how physically active you are, the blood sugar will vary.  Physical activity can lower your blood sugar up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin. 

Understand how your blood sugar responds to exercise. To know it clearly check your blood sugars more often. Check your blood sugar before and after the exercise, this can help you see the benefits of activity. Understanding this pattern will help you manage your blood sugars well. 


Based on different research articles, following are the proven benefits from exercise.

  • With exercise HbA1C lowered by 0.7% in people of different ethnicity who were under different medications for diabetes and following a variety of diets. This improvement occurred even though they didn’t lose any weight.
  • All forms of exercise like aerobic, resistance or combined training were equally helpful in lowering HbA1C values in people with diabetes. 
  • People with diabetes who walked at least two hours a week were less likely to die of heart disease than their sedentary counter- parts, and those who exercised three to four hours a week cut their risk even more.
  • It was observed that moderate aerobic exercise before breakfast helped to reduce the rise of blood glucose at dawn that often occurs in type 2 diabetes patients. In particular, the significant improvement of blood glucose one hour before breakfast is strong evidence that exercise before breakfast can improve fasting hyperglycaemia. 
  • Prolonged sitting should be interrupted with bouts of light activity every 30 min for blood glucose benefits, in adults with type 2 diabetes. 

In general, ideal time to exercise for diabetics is one to three hours after eating the meal, when your blood sugar levels are likely to be higher. If you are on insulin for managing your blood sugars, make sure you check your blood sugars before exercising. If your sugar levels are below 100mg/dl before exercising, make sure you eat a healthy snack which will help you in preventing hypoglycaemia. Experts also caution against exercising if your blood sugar is too high (over 250mg/dl), because exercise can sometimes raise blood sugar even higher.

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