Diabetes and physical activity

Diabetes is a condition that causes the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood to become too high. It is a serious condition if not looked after but it is very treatable. The way you live your life can make a huge difference to treatment.

How physical activity can help

Physical activity will help you:

  • control your blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • lower your blood pressure
  • improve your cholesterol
  • lose weight
  • maintain a healthy weight, when excess weight has been lost
  • improve your circulation
  • lower your risk of heart disease and stroke
  • have more energy
  • sleep better at night
  • improve your muscle strength
  • improve your mood and reduce depression
  • have healthier bones

If you are not regularly active or are very overweight, start with bouts of 10 minutes or less of exercise every day. You can then gradually increase the amount of time you are active.

Check with your GP before you start becoming more active. They can help you set realistic goals that take account of your level of fitness, symptoms and medication.

Being active with type 1 diabetes

You can still exercise and do the sport you enjoy if you have type 1 diabetes. You may need to take precautions to stay safe during and after exercise, but being active has lots of benefits for type 1 diabetes management.

Being active with type 2 diabetes

Physical activity is important for managing and treating type 2 diabetes. Being active can lower your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

HSE exercise videosĀ 

Try our exercise videos at home

Page last reviewed: 30 January 2019
Next review due: 30 January 2022