Types of Physical Activities

Many kinds of physical activity can help you take care of your diabetes. Even small amounts of physical activity can help. You can measure your physical activity level by how much effort you use.

Doctors suggest that you aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week. Children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes who are 10 to 17 years old should aim for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.

Your health care team can tell you more about what kind of physical activity is best for you. They can also tell you when and how much you can increase your physical activity level.

Light physical activity. Light activity is easy. Your physical activity level is light if you

  • are breathing normally
  • are not sweating
  • can talk normally or even sing

Moderate physical activity. Moderate activity feels somewhat hard. Your physical activity level is moderate if you

  • are breathing quickly, yet you’re not out of breath
  • are lightly sweating after about 10 minutes of activity
  • can talk normally, yet you can’t sing

Vigorous physical activity. Vigorous, or intense, activity feels hard. Your physical activity level is vigorous if you

  • are breathing deeply and quickly
  • are sweating after a few minutes of activity
  • can’t talk normally without stopping for a breath

Not all physical activity has to take place at the same time. You might take a walk for 20 minutes, lift hand weights for 10 minutes, and walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes.

Breaking the physical activity into different groups can help. You can