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What is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that results in an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood. This is due to the to the body being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced, also known as insulin resistance.

Physical activity is an important part of diabetes management plan. During exercise, the muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. The regular physical activity also helps the body to use insulin more efficiently. The best type of physical activity will depend on your individual situation.

Strength training, when done correctly, has been shown to provide a safe and effective way to control blood glucose, increase strength, and improve the quality of life in individuals with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 2 diabetes start a strength training program to help with blood sugar control. Even more fascinating is the evidence demonstrating the additive effects of combining aerobic and resistance exercise on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Incorporating both types of activity appears to take advantage of differing mechanisms of action, enhancing insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal further than either activity could achieve alone Muscles burn calories, even when it is inactive, and this can be very valuable in terms of forestalling or managing diabetes complications.

Below are ten effective home exercises that work for your major muscle groups. Before starting your routine, always ensure to do a proper warm-up for around five minutes. For each one, begin with one set of 10 to 15 repetitions. Rest 30 -120 seconds before the next repetition.

If you are a beginner or returning to exercise after a long break, you should begin by slowly aiming for a target of around 30-60 minutes per session.

Chair Dips

Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a stable chair or secured bench. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended in front of you. With your arms straight, bend your elbows a little to keep tension your triceps and off your elbow. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, return to your starting position. This completes one rep. Do 10 to 15 reps per set and aim for two to three sets. This exercise works the triceps and forearm muscles

Classic crunch

Begin by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and elbows back. The elbows should stay and remain sideways throughout the workout. Slowly raise your back off the ground, curl your shoulders upward and squeeze your abs. Slower lower your back to the floor. This exercise works the abdominal muscles and builds a strong core.


Lie face down with your elbows directly below your shoulder, with palms facing down and toes tucked under. From this starting position, lift your torso and thighs off the floor, at the same squeezing your abs. Remain in this position for five seconds or more. With your back straight, slowly lower yourself to the starting position


Start by placing your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Flex your knees with your back straight and lower yourself as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Your thighs should be at 90-degrees to the floor and your knees should not exceed past your toes. Lean forward slightly as you stand back up. You can also do squats while leaning against a stability ball placed between your back and a wall. This exercise works the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps muscles


Begin by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart on the ground. Move your right leg back, flexing the knee toward the floor without allowing it to touch. Your left thigh should be at 90-degrees with the floor. Press down on the left heel and raise the right leg back to a neutral stance. To make the lunges more challenging, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Do 8-12 repetitions and then switch sides. This exercise targets the glutes and hamstring muscles

Triceps extension

To begin, grab a dumbbell with both hands wrapped around the handle. Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other.

Rotate the wrist so that the palm of your hand is facing forward and the pinkie is facing the ceiling. This will be your starting position. Slowly raise the dumbbell overhead. Straighten your elbows as you lift the dumbbell towards the ceiling. Slowly bend your elbows and lower the weight behind your head. Keep your upper arms still and vertical to the floor. Return to the starting position by flexing your triceps as you breathe out. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and switch arms. A rope can be substituted for a dumbbell for this exercise

Standing Biceps Curl

In a standing position, with your palms facing your thigh, grab a dumbbell in each hand. Curl your biceps as you lift the dumbbells. Midway up, your forearm should rotate so your palms end up facing your shoulders at the top. Slowly lower the dumbbells to starting position in a controlled motion, so momentum doesn’t take over

Chest press

To begin a chest press, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet placed firmly on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level and slowly raise them above your chest until your elbows are straight but not locked. Pause a second and gradually lower the dumbbells towards your chest. This exercise works on the chest muscles and upper body

 Shoulder press

The shoulder press can be done while standing or sitting. In the standing position, hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your feet shoulder-width apart then raise them until they are level with your ears. The elbows should be placed at a 90-degree angle. This is your starting position. Without leaning back, extend through your elbow and raise the weights directly above your head. Then slowly return to the starting position. Aim for three sets of eight to 10 reps.

For the seating variation, sit on an upright bench holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with your palms directed away from you. Push your chest up, and your core braced, and look straight forward throughout the move. Raise the dumbbells directly upwards until your arms are straight, and the weights meet each other above your head. Gently lower the dumbbells back to the start position under controlled motion, pause, start the next repetition. Bouncing the dumbbells back from the starting position places greater strain on your shoulders and means you’re using momentum to lift the weights instead of your deltoid muscles

Always remember to warm up properly before attempting any heavy lifts with your shoulder. Because the shoulder joint is one of the most delicate mobile joint in the human body, it makes it more prone to injuries.

Aerobic Activities

This includes activities such as playing tennis, hiking, ice-skating or roller skating, dancing, brisk walking indoor cycling, jogging and running.

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Berg, K. (1995). Weight Training for Persons With Diabetes Mellitus. STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING JOURNAL17(2), 42. doi: 10.1519/1073-6840(1995)017<0042:wtfpwd>;2

Craig, B. (2000). Diabetes Mellitus and Strength Training. Strength And Conditioning Journal22(1), 22. doi: 10.1519/00126548-200002000-00006

Zacker, R. (2018). Strength Training in Diabetes Management.