How To Exercise If You Have Type II Diabetes!

Type II Diabetes is a serious disease, but it shouldn't stop you from staying active and doing cardio and resistance training. Learn more about how to exercise with Type II Diabetes below!

A patient of mine was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes Mellitus, also called adult-onset Diabetes Mellitus, and was worried about running into more health problems when beginning a new workout routine.

This patient was also concerned as to how it would affect normal activities throughout the day and considered giving up an active lifestyle. I explained that there is nothing further from the truth.

Type II Diabetes Mellitus is a growing problem within our society, and the numbers of newly diagnosed people have been increasing. In most cases it can be controlled with a strict diet and exercise program and, in some cases, prescribed medication to help the body get rid of excess sugar.

Diabetic patients must keep daily track of their Blood Glucose (BG) numbers and make sure they fall with in a prescribed range. If the Diabetic patient does not pay strict attention to the BG numbers, diet, exercise, and the prescribed medication dosages, and if the Blood Glucose numbers become uncontrolled, then it can lead to any or all of the following:

1. Heart Disease And Stroke

Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes. The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with Diabetes.

2. High Blood Pressure

In 2003-2004, 75% of adults with self-reported Diabetes had blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), or used prescription medication for hypertension.

3. Blindness

Diabetic retinopathy (disorder of the retina) causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.

4. Kidney Disease

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2005.

5. Amputations

More than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with Diabetes.

According to The Center for Disease Control, 17.9 Million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. Suffice to say that if you are not the one with Type II Diabetes you will have a family member or close friend who does.

Exercising With Diabetes

Having the disease in no way means that you must stop your daily routine and crawl into a shell, or sit on the couch and worry about what could happen. The best advice is to get up and get moving.

I always recommend cardio or aerobic activities to my patients consisting of either a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (including riding a stationary bike, actively playing with children, raking leaves or a brisk pace walk, etc.) most days of the week, or a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (jogging or running) 3 days per week.

I also recommend resistance, strength building, and weight bearing activities. Two days a week you should also incorporate strength training (i.e. weight training) into your normal work out routine.

Weight training maintains and increases muscle strength and endurance. Weight training can consist of something as simple as lifting soup cans or filling an empty milk container with water for added resistance.

Your body is designed for adaptation. Every system in your body is designed to take the situation that it is in and adapt to meet the environment it is placed in. Granted there are limitations to this adaptation mechanism, but that is still the beauty of the design.

Mix up your workouts from day to day or week to week. Don't always run the same route, or you can run it in the opposite direction. Change the time you normally run. Add in some calisthenics at different intervals to keep things interesting.

The goal is to increase your heart rate, which will burn off the excess sugar and strengthen the heart and lungs. Doing a few sit ups or jumping jacks along the side of the road when you need a break is better than stopping and telling yourself that you just can't make it.

Remember, the goal of cardiovascular training is to reach your target heart rate for at least 30 minutes. At the beginning that may mean that you can slow down the run on the treadmill or even start walking as long as you keep your heart rate within the zone needed.

When it starts to fall below that targeted zone then you pick up the pace again and continue on with the time. With continued exercise you will get to the point that you will have to run the full 30 minutes. You will then have to increase the intensity by elevating the treadmill or running faster to keep you within your targeted heart rate.

Type II Diabetes is a very serious condition. It in no way means that you will have to stop your life. Doing research will show you all of the people who have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and still live a normal healthy life. Yes, you will have to alter some of what you do and watch what you eat, but if you are reading this, then you are into the fitness lifestyle and do that anyway.

If you have a family history of diabetes or find that you have an increased thirst and/or frequent urination, then contact your health provider and ask to be screened for diabetes. You will either be checked via blood or urine.

By blood they will either check your Glucose levels within your system or by a glucose monitor and a prick in the finger. Your urine is more of a screening process, which is cheap and easy.

If you get a positive urine test for ketones they will run blood work on you anyway because there are quite a few reasons why you could have ketones in your urine; diabetes is only one of them.

The more accurate way to check your blood Glucose levels is by checking your A1C levels. The glucose monitor will give you a reading of the levels of sugar within your blood at any given moment. The A1C will give you an average of the levels of sugar you had within your system over the past 3 months.

What Are A1C Levels?
Glycated hemoglobin (glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, A1C, or Hb1c; sometimes also HbA1c) is a form of hemoglobin used primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time.

If you find out that you are Diabetic, consult your Health Care Professional about an exercise program that will be best for you. Please do not put this off and think that just because you feel good now you don't have something to worry about.

Just like a lot of diseases when you first notice the signs, it means the disease is well on its way and you may not be able to stop it. Take the time now and get in control of it before it gets control of you.


Diabetes is not something to be ashamed of, and it can usually be controlled with diet and exercise. It will not be easy, but no one ever promised you that life would be easy.

Remember that there are 1440 minutes in every day so you can schedule at least 30 minutes for physical activity.

Now get up and go workout.