Exercise is safe—and highly recommended—for most people with type 2 diabetes, including those with complications. It's an important tool that will help you lower blood sugar (along with diet and medication) and lose weight if you need to do so.
However, check with your health-care provider before starting an exercise program. There are some type 2 diabetes complications, such as heart disease, retinopathy, and neuropathy, that may require fine-tuning of your exercise program.
- Wear your medical identification or other ID.
- Always carry food or glucose tablets so that you'll be ready to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar is more common if you are taking insulin or certain oral medications).
- Carry your glucose meter with you and check your blood glucose before and after you exercise. If you'll be exercising for more than an hour, check your blood glucose at regular intervals during your workout. You may need snacks before you finish. You should also be sure to check after you finish, as hypoglycemia can occur up to five hours after exercise.
- Be sure to wear socks and sneakers that are comfortable and fit well to help prevent foot irritation. And after you exercise, check your feet for blisters, sores, and cuts. Left unattended, foot irritations can lead to a serious infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids during your exercise regimen; dehydration can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.