Aerobic and strength training exercises are beneficial for individuals with pre-diabetes or diabetes. While both type 1 and type 2 diabetics can benefit from exercise, type 2 diabetics are particularly responsive to exercise. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, aerobic exercise can lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and strengthen the heart, and strength training exercise increases muscle and reduces fat.
Because foot neuropathy often accompanies diabetes, diabetics should wear protective footwear when exercising. According to Simple Fit, diabetic foot neuropathy and reduced circulation could increase your risk for blisters, ulcers and infections. Diabetics should wear shoes that fit well and are kept dry. Having at least two pairs of good, well-fitting walking shoes that you alternate from day to day can help keep your feet dry and protected.
Aerobic Exercise Equipment
The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week. Brisk walking is an effective form of aerobic exercise that can be done on a treadmill. Treadmills offer a variety of speeds and inclines that adjust to your needs and allow you to walk anytime regardless of the weather outdoors. Diabetics with foot neuropathy may prefer an indoor stationary bike. Stationary bikes are non-impact exercise equipment that takes the pressure off the feet and still allows you to exercise aerobically.
Strength Training Equipment
Strength training is essential for diabetics and should be done two or three days a week. Strength training does not have to involve a lot of expensive equipment. Using a few light dumbbells of various weights or rubber resistance bands of various tension levels are effective, inexpensive ways to build and maintain lean muscle mass.
Core and Balance
A study in New Zealand found women 80 years of age and older showed a 40 percent reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training, according to the website American Diabetes. Stability balls are beneficial for individuals looking to improve core strength and balance. Stability balls are inexpensive, portable and versatile. The instability of the ball forces your body to work tiny stabilizer muscles that help to improve core and balance.
Individuals with diabetes should always consult their physician prior to beginning any new exercise program. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, patients who take insulin or medicines that lower blood glucose levels should take special precautions before starting a workout program. Diabetics should never exercise on an empty stomach, and be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising.