Exercise and diabetes

Physical activity doesn’t have to be hard

Being more active does not have to mean doing hard exercises or boring workouts. An activity as simple as walking for 30 to 45 minutes 3 or more times a week can help you get healthier. When you start to be more active, you may find that you have more energy to do fun things, you spend more time with family and friends, and your clothes fit better.

Regular physical activity is good for you
Regular physical activity can

• Lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
• Relieve stress
• Strengthen your heart, muscles, and bones
• Help insulin work better
• Improve your blood flow
• Keep your joints healthy
• Help you lose weight

All of these benefits can be yours—even if you haven’t been very active before. Talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

You will feel some of the benefits of physical activity right away, even if you haven’t been very active before.

What gets in your way?
A program of increased physical activity begins with the desire to become more active. But many people think of excuses, even when they know that physical activity will help them.

If you are discouraged, stop and think about what’s keeping you from becoming as active as you want to be. Talk with members of your health care team, friends, and family for suggestions on ways you can increase your physical activity. The power to become more active lies with 1 person—you. You owe it to yourself to do what you can to reap the benefits of physical activity.

Add more physical activity to your routine

Even if you never exercise, there are many ways you can add physical activity to your day. Any physical activity, even if it isn’t strenuous, can be beneficial. Once physical activity is part of your routine, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

Ask members of your health care team, friends, and family for ideas about how to be more active.

• A complete physical activity routine includes 4 kinds of activity:
– Staying active throughout the day by walking, using the stairs, and moving around
– Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing
– Strength training, like lifting light weights
– Flexibility exercises, such as stretching

• If you are active a few days of the week
– Plan more activities throughout your week, like yoga, biking, jogging, swimming, fitness classes, weight lifting, pilates, or tai chi
– Do the same activity from week to week
– Increase how long, how often, and how hard you do your activities

Provided as an educational resource by Merck