Prediabetes: Exercise Tips

Overview

If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, you have a chance to keep it from progressing to type 2 diabetes. One way to do this is by getting regular exercise. Here are some ideas that can help you get active.

  • First, check with your doctor.

    Talk with your doctor about how and when to exercise. You may need to have a medical exam and special tests (such as a treadmill test) before you start.

  • Choose a type of activity that you like.

    You'll be more likely to keep doing the program if you choose something you like and that fits easily into your daily schedule. Any type of physical activity may be helpful, such as:

    • Sports or other types of exercise, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or biking.
    • Work-related activities or household work, such as vacuuming or gardening.
  • Get enough exercise.

    Experts say to do either:

    Moderate activity for at least 2½ hours a week.

    One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Moderate activity means things like brisk walking, brisk cycling, or ballroom dancing. But any activities (including daily chores) that raise your heart rate can be included. You notice your heart beating faster with this kind of activity.

    Vigorous activity for at least 1¼ hours a week.

    One way to do this is to be active 25 minutes a day, at least 3 days a week. Vigorous activity means things like jogging, cycling fast, or cross-country skiing. You breathe rapidly and your heart beats much faster with this kind of activity.

    It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.

  • Add some strength-building activities.

    Try doing muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 times a week. These exercises include push-ups and weight training. You can also use rubber tubing or stretch bands. Work the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.

  • Be safe.
    • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you're active. If you've been exercising intensely or for more than 1 hour, consider a sports drink to help replace electrolytes lost through sweating.
    • Don't exercise if you are sick or injured. Exercise indoors if it's very hot or cold outside.
    • Wear shoes and socks that fit well.

Credits

Current as of: January 26, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine