Frequently Asked Questions

23. What types of exercise should I do, and how often?

People with diabetes should

  • do aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, which use the body’s large muscles to make the heart beat faster. The large muscles are those of the upper and lower arms and legs and those that control head, shoulder, and hip movements.
  • do activities to strengthen muscles and bone, such as sit-ups or lifting weights. Aim for two times a week.
  • stretch to increase flexibility, lower stress, and help prevent muscle soreness after physical activity.

Try to exercise almost every day for a total of about 30 minutes. If you haven't exercised lately, begin slowly. Start with 5 to 10 minutes, and then add more time. Or exercise for 10 minutes, three times a day. (Tip: you don’t need to get your exercise in all at one time.)

For more information on exercise and older adults, see Exercises To Try or visit Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging.

Always talk with a doctor before starting a new physical activity program.