Did you know… exercise can really help people with diabetes?

More than one in 10 adults in Central and East Harlem have diabetes-this rate is higher than anywhere else in Manhattan, and one of the highest rates in NYC.  This disease can make it more likely for you to develop other serious health problems like strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure and blindness.

Luckily there are ways you can manage your diabetes, and being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy.

If you have diabetes, here's how exercise can help you:

  • It helps you deal with stress
  • It lowers your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
  • It uses up extra sugar in your blood and helps your own insulin work better
  • It makes your heart, muscles and bones strong
  • It keeps your body and your joints flexible

If you don't already have diabetes, exercise has been proven to be a great way to reduce your risk of developing it.

You don't have to exercise for hours a day to look and feel better: being active for five or 10 minutes at a time, a few times every day, can make a huge difference in your health.

Easy ways to get moving:

  • Walk to the grocery store and carry home the groceries
  • Try a 10-minute walk after every meal
  • If you're watching a show on TV, get up and exercise every time the commercials come on. During a 30-minute show you can get 10 minutes of exercise!
  • Get up and change TV stations instead of using your remote control
  • Vacuum or sweep around the house
  • Lift some small weights. You can even do this while watching TV, and you don't need any special equipment--cans of soup, bags of beans, or bottles of water make great weights
  • Walk around while you talk on the phone
  • Turn up the stereo and dance while folding laundry or cooking dinner
  • March in place while you are watching television
  • Get off the bus a couple stops early and walk the rest of the way
  • Use a wheelchair? No problem, "wheeling" can be as good for you as walking

Remember: always consult a healthcare professional before beginning a new exercise program.

Did you know? is a series of health articles written by HHPC and approved by our Health Advisory Board.


Thank you for the practical, easy ways to move that you had listed. 3 colleagues and I had written a paper on diabetes recently and as physical therapists, we definitely advocate physical activity. We chanced upon a study that compared a group of persons with pre-diabetes given an exercise program, another group an oral blood sugar-lowering drug, and the last group: no intervention. Guess what?! Those who underwent an exercise program had the most decrease of blood sugar after the clinical trial period! So, let's get moving! Stay healthy Harlem, Michelle Cruz, PT Health Advisory Board

My mother-in-law has type 2 diabetes and she is taking oral hypoglycemic drugs (diabetes meds). The drugs only helped her to a certain extent and her blood glucose levels were still high. After she incorporated exercise into her daily routine it was only then she started to see good results. She walks 30 mins every day, takes the stairs instead of the elevator and exercises.

Leave a Comment