Top 5 Exercises for Diabetes (for the under-50s)

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects a large number of people globally. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates glucose levels in the blood. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes may develop complications such as nerve damage, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise is generally effective in managing diabetes and reducing the risk of complications.

There are a number of reasons why diabetes patients should engage in physical activity.

Initially, exercise can help reduce blood sugar by increasing the amount of glucose (sugar) used for energy, thereby decreasing the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Consequently, this increases insulin sensitivity and decreases the need for medication.

Additionally, exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease in addition to lowering blood sugar levels. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are linked, and both can be mitigated by exercise. Physical activity can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of heart attack and stroke. Exercise can also help diabetic patients improve their circulation, which is important because it prevents nerve and tissue damage by supplying them with nutrients.

Additionally, if you are overweight or obese, exercise can help you shed pounds. The majority of the time, obesity and diabetes are linked. Therefore, weight loss is an effective method for enhancing insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications. In addition to enhancing overall fitness and energy levels, exercise can also improve life quality.

It really is not rocket science, and you don’t need AI or Elon Musk to advise you. Simply try to do good things for your body:

  1. Lose weight. Eat smaller meals.
  2. Try fasting. Just check if you are on certain medications that will not support you to fast.
  3. Eat less carbs.
  4. Reduce unnecessary sugar like ice creams. Do you know a tub of Ben and Jerry’s contains half a glass of sugar!
  5. Exercise.
  6. Sleep well.

Exercises with a moderate intensity, such as weightlifting, walking, cycling, swimming, and rowing, are safe and effective for the majority of diabetic patients in enhancing fitness levels. Due to the nature of diabetes and its effects on blood sugar levels, caution is advised when engaging in vigorous exercise. This is due to a sharp decline in blood sugar levels. To avoid this, you should consume food one to thirty minutes before engaging in high-intensity activities.

Physiotherapy and osteopathy can play a significant role in the management of diabetes. We can create individualised programmes based on your fitness level and diabetes severity, making exercise safe and enjoyable. We can also offer advice and instruction on exercise technique and the most effective means of monitoring blood sugar levels during exercise.

At Surrey Physio, we have an experienced team that can administer care to diabetic patients. We can assist you in developing individualised exercise plans to meet your specific objectives. We provide individualised guidance and support to assist diabetic patients in attaining optimal fitness levels. We take pride in understanding the significance of exercise and utilising the most recent research to manage their diabetes.

We have developed 5 exercises we think can help you achieve optimal health and wellness.


Get on to a bicycle (static bike, or normal road bike), and keep an upright posture. Do not attempt to get into a racing bike position unless advised by your therapist. Ensure your seat height and foot straps are adjusted to suit you. Cycle for 20-minutes at a reasonable pace.

Jogging or Running

Maintaining a good upright posture, jog on a treadmill. You can make the exercise harder by increasing the incline of the treadmill machine. Jog for a minimum of 20-minutes.

Kettlebell Swing

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with both hands on a kettlebell in an overhand grip, bend 45-degrees at the knees before extending at the ankle, knee and hip to push through with the hips and lift the kettlebell out in front of you. Lower the kettlebell back down to the starting position and repeat ten reps, for three sets.


Start with ensuring your feet are in the right placement with the strap over the midline of your foot, hands in a comfortable position on the handle in an upright position. Move forward while bending your knees with your arms out straight, once reaching as far as you comfortably can drive yourself back and bring the handle to sternum height. Repeat the movement for the desired amount of time or distance, ideally 20-minutes.


Place your feet shoulder width apart while bracing your trunk and facing forward, pull down on the bar to maintain posture. Descend slowly while pushing the knees out and going as low as possible while maintaining an upright position, once at the bottom of the squat pause for one second maintaining an upright position and explode upwards to repeat 8 to 12 reps.

We recommend you start an exercise programme ASAP. Basically, don’t put it off. Start exercising, “burn” fat, and reduce your weight. Remember consistent exercises is an important component of managing diabetes. It helps to reduce blood sugar levels, risk of complications, reduce weight loss and improve overall fitness. Working with a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist can be a safe way of approaching exercise. Surrey Physio is dedicated to improving our patient’s quality of life and helping help to achieve their goals. Please see us in clinic if you think we could help.

(Therapists, osteopaths, sports massage therapists, chiropractors reading this page… if you love the exercises here, then please check out the amazing exercise prescription tool You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, and it’s affordable to buy, with pricing starting from £11.23 per month.

If you are a patient, in pain, or elite performance, please call us to discuss your case further. Surrey Physio have an amazing team of therapists to help you recover from pain, but also to achieve top performance. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or click the link at the top to book online.)