Exercise, or physical activity, includes anything that gets you moving, such as walking, dancing, or working in the yard. Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes.


Get Started

If you haven’t been very active recently, you can start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day. Then, increase your activity sessions by a few minutes each week. Over time, you’ll see your fitness improve, and you’ll find that you’re able to do more.

Find the Time

If your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to exercise for a 30-minute period during the day, you have the option to break it up into bouts of 10 minutes or more. Research has shown that the health benefits are similar when you do this!

For example, you might take a brisk 10-minute walk after each meal. Or you could try doing 15 minutes of aerobics in the morning before work and another 15 minutes when you get home.

If you are trying to lose weight and keep it off, most people need to do closer to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise per day.

Below are some examples of aerobic activities:

  • Brisk walking (outside or inside on a treadmill)
  • Bicycling/Stationary cycling indoors
  • Dancing
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Playing tennis
  • Stair climbing
  • Jogging/Running
  • Hiking
  • Rowing
  • Ice-skating or roller-skating
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Moderate-to-heavy gardening


The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – even when your body is at rest.

Preventing muscle loss by strength training is also the key to maintaining an independent lifestyle as you age.

We Recommend: doing some type of strength training at least 2 times per week in addition to aerobic activity.

Below are examples of strength training activities:

  • Weight machines or free weights at the gym
  • Using resistance bands
  • Lifting light weights or objects like canned goods or water bottles at home
  • Calisthenics or exercises that use your own body weight to work your muscles (examples are pushups, sit ups, squats, lunges, wall-sits and planks)
  • Classes that involve strength training
  • Other activities that build and keep muscle like heavy gardening


throughout the day.

At Work

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can
  • Get up once every 30 minutes while you are at work and take a quick walk around your building
  • Stand up and stretch whenever you can
  • Take a walk around your building during your lunch break
  • If you take the train or bus to work or elsewhere, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to work
  • Use a speaker or mobile phone so you can walk  around your office during breaks
  • Try some chair exercises during the day while at your desk

At Home

  • Doing housework such as vacuuming, dusting, or washing dishes counts
  • Even yard work such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves counts too
  • Play with the kids – play catch or throw the Frisbee around
  • Walk in place during the commercials of your favorite television show
  • Make more trips when carrying groceries or laundry to get more steps in
  • Walk around the house or up and down stairs while you talk on the phone
  • Take the dog for a walk around the block

Out and About

  • Park at the far end of the shopping center lot and walk to the store
  • Get off the train or bus one or two stops early to get more steps in
  • Walk to the store and take the longer route to increase your steps
  • Do a lap or two around the perimeter of the store before shopping
  • If you are at the airport and waiting for a flight, walk through the terminal
  • When on a road trip, stop often to stretch and walk around