Exercise Helps Lower Your Risk for Diabetes

Sempert's Drug diabetes awareness articleNovember is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

National Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.

Making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle reduces your, and your family’s risk for diabetes. Exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. The article below by the American Diabetes Association explains how physical activity benefits your overall health.

What Can Physical Activity Do for Me?

Physical activity…

  • Helps lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Lowers your risk for prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke
  • Relieves stress
  • Strengthens your heart, muscles and bones
  • Improves your blood circulation and tones your muscles
  • Keeps your body and your joints flexible

Even if you’ve never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day. Even if your activities aren’t strenuous, you’ll still get health benefits. Once physical activity is a part of your routine, you’ll wonder how you managed without it.

What Kinds of Physical Activity are Best?

A complete physical activity routine includes four kinds of activities:

  1. Continuous activity—walking, using the stairs, moving around—throughout the day
  2. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing
  3. Strength training, like lifting light weights
  4. Flexibility exercises, such as stretching

Being Active Throughout the Day

Reducing the amount of time spent sitting or being still is important for everyone. Set your alarm to get up and stretch or walk around the house or office at least every 30 minutes throughout the day.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress and improves blood circulation. It also lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels on target. Aim for about 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. If you haven’t been very active recently, start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day. Then work up to more time each week. Or split up your activity for the day—try a brisk 10-minute walk three times each day.

Here are some ways to get aerobic exercise:

  • Take a brisk walk every day
  • Go dancing or take a dance aerobics class
  • Swim or do water aerobics
  • Take a bicycle ride outdoors or use a stationary bicycle indoors

Strength Training

Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles and makes everyday chores like carrying groceries easier. With more muscle, you burn more calories, even at rest.

Do your strength routine several times a week. Here are some ways to do strength training:

  • Lift light weights at home
  • Join a class that uses weights, elastic bands and/or plastic tubes
  • When you travel, make time to use the hotel fitness center. Or bring lightweight, easy-to-pack resistance bands with you

Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises, also called stretching, help keep your joints limber and lower your chances of getting hurt. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes helps your body warm up and get ready for activities and cool down afterwards.

How to Get Started

Choose one or two things you’d like to try to get started. Then set a realistic, achievable plan to make it happen. Learn more about setting realistic, achievable goals below.

Keep a Record of Your Progress

Keep track of your activity. You might find that writing everything down helps keep you on target. Think about what works best for you. You might try a notebook, calendar, spreadsheet, cell phone or online activity tracker to log and record your progress.

How a Support System can Help

It may be helpful to meet on a regular basis with others who are also trying to be active. Think about joining a group for exercise or general support, or find a walking buddy. Then work together to reach your goals.


Do your research on diabetes at the American Diabetes Association. You will find risk assessments, studies, articles, links to resources and more on the topic of diabetes and prevention.

  • original article here.
  • Last Reviewed: March 16, 2017
  • Last Edited: March 21, 2017

Choose More than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Prevention Month

November is the month we focus on preventing diabetes. 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. About 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in the United States every year. More than one in every 10 adults who are 20 years or older has diabetes. Diabetes is a dangerous disease and there are ways you make gentle shift in your day-to-day lifestyle than can help to prevent it!

Learn about 54 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes with this article from the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Reduce Portion Sizes

Eat healthy to prevent diabetes

Portion size is the amount of food you eat, such as 1 cup of fruit or 6 ounces of meat. If you are trying to eat smaller portions, eat a half of a bagel instead of a whole bagel or have a 3-ounce hamburger instead of a 6-ounce hamburger. Three ounces is about the size of your fist or a deck of cards.

Put less on your plate, Nate.

1. Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before your meal so you feel less hungry.

2. Keep meat, chicken, turkey, and fish portions to about 3 ounces.

3. Share one dessert.

Eat a small meal, Lucille.

4. Use teaspoons, salad forks, or child-size forks, spoons, and knives to help you take smaller bites and eat less.

5. Make less food look like more by serving your meal on a salad or breakfast plate.

6. Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full.

7. Listen to music while you eat instead of watching TV (people tend to eat more while watching TV)

How much should I eat?

Try filling your plate like this:

  • 1/4 protein
  • 1/4 grains
  • 1/2 vegetables and fruit
  • dairy (low-fat or skim milk)


Move More Each Day

exercise daily to help prevent diabetes

Find ways to be more active each day. Try to be active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Walking is a great way to get started and you can do it almost anywhere at any time. Bike riding, swimming, and dancing are also good ways to move more.

If you are looking for a safe place to be active, contact your local parks department or health department to ask about walking maps, community centers, and nearby parks.

Dance it away, Faye.

8. Show your kids the dances you used to do when you were their age.

9. Turn up the music and jam while doing household chores.

10. Work out with a video that shows you how to get active.

Let’s go, Flo.

11. Deliver a message in person to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail.

12. Take the stairs to your office. Or take the stairs as far as you can, and then take the elevator the rest of the way.

13. Catch up with friends during a walk instead of by phone.

14. March in place while you watch TV.

15. Choose a place to walk that is safe, such as your local mall.

16. Get off of the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way home or to work if it is safe.

Make Healthy Food Choices

fruits and vegetables help prevent diabetes

Find ways to make healthy food choices. This can help you manage your weight and lower your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

Choose to eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Cut back on high-fat foods like whole milk, cheeses, and fried foods. This will help you reduce the amount of fat and calories you take in each day.

Snack on a veggie, Reggie.

17. Buy a mix of vegetables when you go food shopping.

18. Choose veggie toppings like spinach, broccoli, and peppers for your pizza.

19. Try eating foods from other countries. Many of these dishes have more vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

20. Buy frozen and low-salt (sodium) canned vegetables. They may cost less and keep longer than fresh ones.

21. Serve your favorite vegetable and a salad with low-fat macaroni and cheese.

Cook with care, Claire.

22. Stir fry, broil, or bake with non-stick spray or low-salt broth. Cook with less oil and butter.

23. Try not to snack while cooking or cleaning the kitchen.

24. Cook with smaller amounts of cured meats (smoked turkey and turkey bacon). They are high in salt.

Cook in style, Kyle.

25. Cook with a mix of spices instead of salt.

26. Try different recipes for baking or broiling meat, chicken, and fish.

27. Choose foods with little or no added sugar to reduce calories.

28. Choose brown rice instead of white rice.

Eat healthy on the go, Jo.

29. Have a big vegetable salad with low-calorie salad dressing when eating out. Share your main dish with a friend or have the other half wrapped to go.

30. Make healthy choices at fast food restaurants. Try grilled chicken (with skin removed) instead of a cheeseburger.

31. Skip the fries and chips and choose a salad.

32. Order a fruit salad instead of ice cream or cake.

Rethink your drink, Linc.

33. Find a water bottle you really like (from a church or club event, favorite sports team, etc.) and drink water from it every day.

34. Peel and eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.

35. If you drink whole milk, try changing to 2% milk. It has less fat than whole milk. Once you get used to 2% milk, try 1% or fat-free (skim) milk. This will help you reduce the amount of fat and calories you take in each day.

36. Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.

Eat smart, Bart.

37. Make at least half of your grains whole grains, such as whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, and quinoa.

38. Use whole grain bread for toast and sandwiches.

39. Keep a healthy snack with you, such as fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, and whole grain crackers.

40. Slow down at snack time. Eating a bag of low-fat popcorn takes longer than eating a candy bar.

41. Share a bowl of fruit with family and friends.

42. Eat a healthy snack or meal before shopping for food. Do not shop on an empty stomach.

43. Shop at your local farmers market for fresh, local food.

Keep track, Jack.

44. Make a list of food you need to buy before you go to the store.

45. Keep a written record of what you eat for a week. It can help you see when you tend to overeat or eat foods high in fat or calories.

Read the label, Mabel.

46. Compare food labels on packages.

47. Choose foods lower in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol (ko-LESS-tuh-ruhl), calories, salt, and added sugars.

Take Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

healthy balance helps prevent diabetes

You can exhale, Gail.

48. Take time to change the way you eat and get active. Try one new food or activity a week.

49. Find ways to relax. Try deep breathing, taking a walk, or listening to your favorite music.

50. Pamper yourself. Read a book, take a long bath, or meditate.

51. Think before you eat. Try not to eat when you are bored, upset, or unhappy.

Be Creative

happy creativity is good for you!

Honor your health as your most precious gift. There are many more ways to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by making healthy food choices and moving more. Discover your own and share them with your family, friends, and neighbors.

Make up your own, Tyrone or Simone.




Track Your Progress

Visit National Diabetes Education Program or call 1-888-693-6337 / TTY: 1-866-569-1162 to get your free GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes booklet. It has charts to help you track the foods you eat and how much you move each day.

Things to Remember:

  • Talk to your doctor about your risk for getting type 2 diabetes and what you can do to lower your chances.
  • Take steps to prevent diabetes by making healthy food choices, staying at a healthy weight, and moving more every day.
  • Find ways to stay calm during your day. Being active and reading a good book can help you lower stress.
  • Keep track of the many ways you are moving more and eating healthy by writing them down.