5 Key Exercise Mistakes to Avoid for Diabetes Management

5 Key Exercise Mistakes to Avoid for Diabetes Management

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body produces or uses sugar present in the blood. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar and uses glucose for energy to be used by cells. Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, there is an excess of sugar in your bloodstream. This can happen because of insufficient insulin production in the body or inefficient utilization of insulin. 

Diabetes can turn into a serious disease if not treated timely and efficiently. With the prevalence of diabetes increasing rapidly in India, it is important to know about one of the most effective ways to control diabetes, i.e., exercising. ADA (American Diabetes Association) suggests indulging in 150 minutes of workout per week is beneficial for diabetes and for avoiding other problems, such as heart diseases. 

While exercising with diabetes, it is of utmost importance to follow norms and some ideal guidelines for best results and optimal health. Here, we have curated a list of the top five exercise mistakes that you should avoid with diabetes. 

Top 5 exercise mistakes to avoid with diabetes 

  • Not being consistent 

Exercising with longer intervals in between workout sessions, such as exercising consistently for a week and then exercising after two or three weeks is not as beneficial as working out consistently throughout your fitness journey, even if it is for comparatively shorter periods of time occasionally. 

  • Not measuring your blood sugar levels before exercise 

It is a good idea to check your blood sugar levels before exercising. Glucose levels below 100 mg/dL are too low, while levels above 250 mg/dL are considered too high to exercise safely. If glucose levels are low, eat a little snack that provides an apt amount of carbohydrates to your body. This will avoid any case of hypoglycemia, i.e., a deficiency of glucose in our bloodstream, which can lead to further complications. 

  • Not staying properly hydrated 

There is usually a greater risk of dehydration for diabetics. With diabetes, there is an excess of glucose in our bloodstream and, consequently, our kidneys work harder to filter out and remove the same excess from our bodies. This is carried out by means of urination. If the lost fluids are not replaced sufficiently, we can be dehydrated. If left untreated and unchecked, dehydration can cause severe complications like kidney failure. 

During exercise, people with diabetes should take frequent water breaks or drink water whenever they feel thirsty. 

  • Chasing big goals too quickly 

People sometimes think that the more intense their workout is, the more beneficial it will be. But that’s not really the case. Workouts of moderate intensity for a prolonged and consistent period can work just the same for you. 

On the other hand, if you put your body through more than what it can take, you’re likely to harm your body or injure yourself in the process. Increase intensity gradually, when you’re ready for it and start with lower-intensity workouts like cycling, dancing, and skipping rope if it’s comfortable for you. 

  • Improper nutrition and sleep 

While trying to lose weight and control diabetes, the importance of meals and proper sleep cycles should not be underestimated. Protein is an essential macronutrient that aids weight loss. Apart from providing the necessary energy and nutrients to the body, it also makes you feel fuller for a longer period and reduces the urge to snack in between meals. Hence, helping with weight loss. You should try to have diabetes-friendly meals that are low in carb. 

Too little sleep can increase your insulin resistance and make you feel hungrier the next day, making it harder to lose weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get no less than 7 hours of quality sleep every night. 

The bottom line

Diabetes is a condition that needs apt attention and timely care. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be nerve-racking, but it is also controllable through some lifestyle changes. Exercising is one of the best ways to manage diabetes, but this routine is also surrounded by common mistakes that people with diabetes commit. It is important to start slow if that’s what makes you comfortable, stay hydrated, check glucose levels frequently, and exercise consistently. Apart from these, the role of proper nutrition and sleep while exercising should be kept in mind. 


  1. https://www.sharecare.com/diabetes/living-with-diabetes/diabetes-exercise-mistakes#slide-9 
  2. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/exercise 
  3. https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-1-diabetes/what-insulin 
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444 
  5. https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/fitness/weekly-exercise-targets#:~:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20has%20lots,death%2C%20compared%20with%20being%20sedentary
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-sleep.html#:~:text=If%20you%20have%20diabetes%2C%20too,and%20give%20you%20more%20energy
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