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Keeping active

Being active brings big benefits to treating diabetes and protecting your health. It can lower your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Keeping active helps you lose body fat and improves your wellbeing. It is worth the effort to make it a part of your everyday life.

If you are currently inactive, doing some physical activity is better than none.

Be physically active

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least 5 days a week. Small amounts of exercise all count. For example, do 10 minute chunks of activity at a time.

Moderate aerobic activity is activity that gets your heart and lungs working.

You will feel:

  • increased breathing and heart rate
  • you are warm or sweating slightly at a comfortable pace
  • you are still able to carry on a conversation (able to talk but not able to sing)

Examples of moderate aerobic activity include:

  • brisk walking
  • cycling
  • swimming
  • digging in the garden
  • dancing

Spread your activities throughout the week.

For more health benefits, increase your activity to 60 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week.

Tips on how to get active

Sit less

Try to break up long periods of sitting time. For example, when you're watching TV or using your computer.

Get up every 30 minutes and stand or walk for 2 to 3 minutes. Briefly standing or walking helps to lower your blood glucose levels.

Strengthen your muscles

Muscle strengthening or resistance exercises can also help. If possible, try to do these exercises 2 to 3 days a week, spread across the week.

Exercising indoors, including sitting and strength activities

Download the 'Getting active for better health - Type 2 diabetes' booklet (PDF,10.4MB,16 pages)

Page last reviewed: 1 August 2020
Next review due: 1 August 2023

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 9.