Group working out with a kettlebells

Exercise Empowers Diabetes Dominance

Hungry Squirrel is here to cheer you on in your journey with diabetes. We understand that navigating the world of diabetes can be challenging, but we're here to remind you that you're not alone.

We want to emphasize how crucial regular physical activity is for managing your diabetes. Not only does it help your body use insulin more efficiently, but the benefits of exercise in lowering blood sugar can last for hours after your workout. Plus, it's a fantastic way to manage weight, reduce stress, and lower the risk of heart disease.

Two types of exercises play vital roles in this journey: aerobic and anaerobic. They vary in terms of oxygen requirement, duration, intensity, and fuel source. Both offer unique benefits and pose specific challenges for individuals with diabetes.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activities like brisk walking, jogging, and swimming require oxygen to generate energy. These moderate-intensity workouts use glucose from your blood as fuel, which can help lower blood sugar levels after about 30 minutes of activity.

Before starting any new exercise regime, consult your doctor. But remember, anyone who is medically able should engage in aerobic exercise to reap its heart-healthy benefits.

Find aerobic activities that you enjoy, and you'll be more likely to stick with your exercise plan. Be prepared for possible lows if you're exercising for more than 30 minutes and always have fast-acting carbs on hand for a snack if your blood sugar drops too low.

Couple of people working out on the rowing machines

Aerobic Exercises 2:

  • Brisk Walking - A low-impact, full-body workout that's good for beginners and those with joint issues
  • Cycling - This can be done outdoors or on a stationary bike, and it's great for building endurance and strength
  • Swimming - A total body workout that's easy on the joints and helps improve flexibility.
  • Jogging/Long Distance Running - This is excellent for cardiovascular health and weight loss
  • Dancing - A fun way to improve balance, coordination, and cardio fitness.
  • Hiking - This can be a moderate to high-intensity workout, depending on the terrain.
  • Rowing - A full-body workout that builds strength and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Jumping Rope - A high-intensity workout that improves coordination and burns a lot of calories
  • Step Aerobics - This workout targets your legs, hips, and glutes, and it can burn a lot of calories.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercises like weightlifting are intense, short-duration activities that don't require oxygen to create energy. Instead, your muscles use stored glycogen to fuel your body.

Before starting a resistance-training program, always consult your doctor. Pay close attention to your blood sugar levels, as intense physical exertion can raise them. Monitor your levels often and check them again after you're done exercising.

Woman with boxing gloves working out with a punching bag

Anaerobic Exercises 2:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - These are short, intense workouts that improve cardiovascular health and burn fat
  • Powerlifting - This is a strength-training workout that focuses on the squat, bench press, and deadlift
  • Kickboxing Martial Arts - These are full-body workouts that also help improve balance, coordination, and flexibility
  • Tabata Workouts - These are a type of HIIT workout that lasts only four minutes
  • Weight Lifting - This builds muscle strength and size.
  • Circuit Training - This combines resistance training with high-intensity aerobic exercise
  • Strength Training - This can include bodyweight exercises or lifting weights to build muscle and strength
  • Sprinting - Short, intense bursts of running that improve speed and power
  • Plyometrics - These are jumping exercises that improve power and explosiveness
  • Squat Jumps/Box Jumps - These are plyometric exercises that work the whole body

Balancing Aerobic and Anaerobic Activity

For optimal health, a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic activities is essential. Aim for 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and two or three sessions of anaerobic (resistance) exercise per weekly 3.

Finding the right balance between insulin dosing, carb intake, and exercise might require some trial and error. But remember, each step you take brings you closer to better health. You're stronger than you think, and with the support of your healthcare team, you can enjoy the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

1. IDF Diabetes Atlas. (n.d). IDF Diabetes Atlas. IDF Diabetes Atlas,

2. Patel, et. al. (2017). Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system. World Journal of Cardiology,

3. American Diabetes Association. (n.d). Fitness. American Diabetes Association,

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