Diabetes Home > Being Active With Type 2 Diabetes

What Are Some Easy Activities to Start With?

Research has shown that even a modest weight loss of 5 percent to 7 percent (around 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) can delay and potentially prevent type 2 diabetes. These people in the study used diet and exercise to lose those pounds. So what types of activities can help you lose weight?
You don't need to become a professional athlete to reap the benefits. There are some basic and simple ways to increase the number of calories you burn, including just being extra active every day. For example, you could:
  • Play with the kids
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Walk around while you are talking on the phone
  • Clean the house
  • Wash the car
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to the store
  • Work out in the yard, such as raking leaves
  • If you have stairs in your house, you can stretch out your chores -- make two trips to take the laundry downstairs instead of one
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • During your lunch or coffee break, take a walk.
Just making a conscious effort to incorporate physical activity when you see the opportunity can help as you increase your exercise regimen. However, you will need to also incorporate some other activities to really benefit from physical activity for your type 2 diabetes.

Including Aerobic Exercise

What does aerobic exercise mean? This type of exercise requires the use of large muscles and gets the heart rate going. This doesn't mean you have to go out and run marathons. You can start slowly with 5 to 10 minutes a day and then add a little more time each week.
Ultimately, you may want to try to incorporate about 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day at least five days a week, with a goal of 150 minutes each week. This does not mean you have to do 30 minutes at once; you can split up that time into several parts, such as three 10-minute walks a day (perhaps one after each meal).
Some ideas for good aerobic exercise include:
  • A brisk walk
  • Hiking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Dancing
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Riding a bike
  • An aerobics class
  • Sports, such as basketball, tennis, or volleyball
  • Ice skating
  • Skiing (either cross-country or downhill).
It is generally recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 90 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. This activity can be distributed over at least three days each week, with no more than two consecutive days without physical activity.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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