Working Out With Diabetes

African American Black Couple Working Out In Park On Grass

People with type 2 diabetes may eventually find that they have lost mobility, either because a limb has been amputated or they otherwise need to use a wheelchair. While this change can make it hard to think about exercise and fitness, but successful diabetes management is still a priority — and still requires at least 30 minutes of activity five days a week.

Even if you have lost a limb, the other joints in your body still need to be active, so your goal is to manage diabetes and also keep the rest of your body in motion.

Joints get stiff if you don’t move them, says Patrice Winter, a physical therapist at George Mason University and in private practice in Fairfax, Va. “Joints are like a well-oiled machine. They need to be active.”

First Steps to Diabetes Exercise

Many people with diabetes who have impaired mobility will have to start with the basics before they can begin — or get back into — an exercise routine. This means focusing on range of motion and building up the strength of your heart and lungs so you can exercise. Winter says this is easier for people who begin their fitness training before surgery or loss of mobility.