Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial during these times when the world is in a state of pandemic. It is easy to stay inside and not do many things to keep ourselves fit. Maybe you do want to be more active but aren’t sure how to start. Diabetes is challenging enough so we want to provide you some options on exercises for managing your diabetes. We’ll focus on exercises that can help manage blood sugar, weight, and blood pressure.

When reading through these ideas, think about what can be done in your current condition. Be safe and listen to what your body is telling you. Consulting with your doctor on new exercise programs can also be beneficial.

Aerobic Exercises

Remember those exercise videos from the 80’s where the instructor would say, “let’s get that heart pumping!” as you tried to follow along? Well that’s exactly what you need to do! Although you don’t need to search for one of those videos online or pull out your old VCR, you should look for active exercises to make you breathe harder and make your heart beat faster. Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a bike ride. A ride around the block is great.
  • Go for a walk or hike. Depending on where you live, there are often plenty of easy to moderate hiking trails that you can participate in. You can even take your dog with you!
  • Climb a flight of stairs. Such a simple task that you can do at home over and over again, but can work up a sweat in no time.
  • Get up and dance! Not only can you do this at home, but you can dance like nobody is watching. Have fun with it and be happy!

You want to reach at least 150 minutes of these exercises each week. Make it a lifestyle goal like we discussed in a previous article. Break it up into 30 minute increments each day and try to do a variety of options. Even if you don’t have that much time, shoot for 5 minutes daily. What are some of your favorite exercises?

Lifting Weights

Building muscle and making your bones stronger are only part of the results you get from lifting weights. Your body can also become more sensitive to insulin and help lower blood sugar levels. Many exercises require no equipment such as crunchespush-ups and lunges. If you want to use some weights to work harder but don’t have any dumbbells, here are some at-home alternatives:

  • Fill an empty milk jug with water or sand and make sure it has a handle. This will help you lift and lower with the weight easier. You can also use a large bottle of laundry detergent.
  • Use canned food that fit in your hand as simple hand weights. If you have paint cans, they tend to be heavier than food cans and work just as well. This is a great way to warm up before attempting heavier weights such as milk jugs or larger canned food.
  • Have a couple water bottles hanging around? Fill them up as evenly as possible and use those as dumbbells. You can also use similar shaped books or packets of rice/beans.
  • If you have a chance to go to the grocery store, you can pick up a bag of apples or onions and use those as weights. Make sure they are tightly tied, you don’t want to have to worry about them spilling.

Incorporate 2-3 days of heavier lifting into your week along with your aerobic exercises. If you have very high blood pressure, make sure to avoid strenuous activity and lifting extra heavy weights.


There is so much that can be done while things around us are closed down. We can do these exercises from home or outdoors in nearby locations. The important thing is to keep moving. Before and after these exercises make sure to stretch so your body doesn’t tense up. Yoga poses can help you get some nice stretches in and also help control your blood sugar.

Use the time that we have now to make good habits out of these exercises. Once life begins to normalize a bit, you can use these good practices to live a healthier life.


A summary below provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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