The Best Exercise for Diabetes Treatment and Prevention

The way you exercise may be just as important as how often you exercise.


There is no denying the importance of exercise. Even the extremely young and healthy are encouraged to make movement and activity a regular part of their routines, despite no looming sign of illness. The type of activity is typically left up to the preferences of the patient or client, but some forms of exercise may prove more effective in managing diabetes.

Exercise and Diabetes

Why exactly is exercise so important for diabetes? In both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, your body is not able to properly manage the sugar (or glucose) in your blood, which can lead to high blood sugar numbers. High blood sugar causes a breakdown in most of your body’s systems and can lead to severe complications, such as heart disease, kidney failure, and even amputation.

Fortunately, exercise is one of the simplest ways to lower your blood sugar. Depending on the mode of activity, your blood sugar levels can drop significantly, and paired with a healthy diet; some Type 2 diabetics can treat their condition without medication.

HIIT and Diabetes

Walking is certainly a great way for individuals with limited mobility to exercise and provides a great starting point for anyone who has never made exercise a consistent habit. Aside from providing basic movement and circulatory needs, though, walking is not an ideal form of exercise for diabetes. Instead, HIIT is.

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. What this means is that instead of pushing yourself the entire duration of your exercise program, or giving yourself a leisurely pace for your movement practice, you complete high-intensity exercises in specific intervals to keep your body strong, lean, and to promote muscle confusion.


HIIT is also useful for diabetics, as it can decrease blood sugar levels consistently, and may be a wonderful tool in the arsenal of both preventative measures against Type 2 diabetes, and treatment measures for people who have already been diagnosed.

HIIT and General Exercise

The study in question was not able to determine the exact success rate of HIIT over other exercise programs but determined that all participants in the study, regardless of insulin resistance levels, background, and weight were able to not only decrease blood sugar levels but also lose weight and improve cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Because HIIT can be taxing to your cardiovascular system, you should get clearance from your doctor before beginning an HIIT program. With the all clear, however, you may find that high-intensity training proves useful in the ongoing fight against diabetes and diabetes complications.


Frontiers in Physiology. Accessed 9/18/17.

Shape. Accessed 9/19/17.


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