The American Heart Association recommends that people with type 2 diabetes get two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. You’ll get more benefit if you spread your exercise hours out over the week — say, 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can even break up your 30 minutes a day into shorter intervals, such as a brisk 10-minute walk after each meal.
A good exercise program for people with diabetes should include:
• Aerobics. These activities get your heart rate up, such as walking briskly, mowing the lawn, hiking, dancing, cross-country skiing, or playing volleyball, tennis, or basketball. If problems with your feet are an issue, try exercises such as swimming or biking to put less stress on feet.
• Strength training. Working out with hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines three times a week will help you build muscle strength and improve bone health. Unless your doctor advises against it, this type of strength training is recommended three times a week.
Be realistic at the start. If it’s been a while since you exercised, plan to start with five or 10 minutes of exercise each day. Then you can gradually add a few more minutes at a time until you build up to 150 minutes a week.