T2D Healthline community members share their tips for finding an exercise routine that works for them.

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Finding time in your day to get your body moving is important for everyone. For people living with type 2 diabetes, exercise is especially important.

Along with eating a nutritious diet, exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle with type 2 diabetes. Getting a sufficient amount of exercise can lessen your risk of cardiovascular disease, help you manage your weight and your blood sugar levels, and lower high cholesterol.

Starting a new exercise regimen can feel intimidating. It’s important to remember that a little movement can go a long way.

Finding ways to incorporate movement into your day that aren’t overwhelming or stressful will make it easier for you to be consistent with your exercise routine. Instead of deciding to dive into hour-long power walks every day, try to set a more manageable goal.

If you start with a plan that you can stick to, you’ll be able to build up from there. This could mean:

  • choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator when you get to work
  • parking your car farther away from the entrance when you go to the store
  • setting a timer on your phone to remind you to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes
  • taking a 5-minute walk after each meal

If you are living with type 2 diabetes and looking for advice about finding an exercise routine that brings you joy, the T2D Healthline community is here to help. Five community members shared their tips for staying active while navigating life with type 2 diabetes.

“Understanding your progress is so important because it helps you keep going.

“Maybe that’s numbers on the scale or using measuring tape. Maybe it’s getting better sleep or more energy. Whatever you’re looking at, seeing the changes can motivate you to push harder.” — Mila Clarke Buckley, T2D Healthline community guide

“I am a social worker and some days at work can be exhausting and stressful. I usually exercise when I’m stressed. I love Zumba. If I am stressed when I am at work, I also do deep breathing and tapping exercises.” — Chamorrita671

“I frequently do microworkouts throughout the day. Sometimes I do a longer workout, like going for a 2-hour hike. What is most important is to stay consistent with exercise.” — Cal90

“You could go biking or running. You could try exercise videos online.

“You could do weight training and strengthening, yoga, Pilates, martial arts, jump rope, yard work or housework, swimming, water aerobics, jumping jacks, pushups, pullups, planks… anything that gets your heart pumping!” — Sherry

“I can’t believe it, but I’ve really gotten into a major exercise swing. I’ve been walking 60 to 90 minutes several times a week and doing a 90-minute yoga class on Sundays. I’m also trying to ride my bike once a week.

“I can’t even believe this is me. I’m sharing this because when I took my first walk in February after my diagnosis, I could only walk for 20 minutes, and that took me less than half a mile. It felt so, so hard.

“Now I actually look forward to walking and enjoying being outside and the nice, tired feeling in my body when I’ve gone five and a half miles in 90 minutes.

“Don’t give up the idea that you may one day miraculously enjoy exercise. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone!” — Gwen

There are countless ways to fit exercise into your daily routine. The most important factor is finding ways to move that work for you.

Exercise doesn’t need to fill you with dread. Moving your body can be empowering, refreshing, and even fun. If you are just getting started with exercising with type 2 diabetes, focus on setting goals that are manageable and finding activities you enjoy.

If you need a little motivation or more specific tips to help you get moving, hearing from people who have been in your shoes can help.

T2D Healthline community members understand firsthand what it’s like to navigate life with type 2 diabetes. No matter where you are in your exercise journey, they are here to share tried-and-true fitness tips, helpful resources, and words of encouragement along the way.


Elinor Hills is an editor at Healthline. She’s passionate about the intersection of emotional well-being and physical health as well as how individuals form connections through shared medical experiences. Outside work, she enjoys yoga, photography, illustration, and spending way too much of her time running.