Maintaining Physical Activity Levels

Taking regular physical activity is a very important part of managing diabetes as well as being important for your physical and mental health.


Do try to keep up with some regular physical activity, outdoors if appropriate and follow the HSE latest public health and social distancing advice for your own benefit and for others. Regular physical activity is beneficial – and a good stress reliever – even if it is inside.


See the following link for public health measures in place right now


While at home you can explore ways to keep up your activity levels in your house and garden. It might suit you to spend some time gardening – weather permitting it might be a good time to catch up with the outdoors jobs.


See the following link for exercises to do in doors, it includes exercises to do while sitting, as well as exercises to help with flexibility, strength, balance and fitness. Why not include some of these exercises as part of your daily routine.



There are many benefits of physical activity including:

  • Increased feeling of wellbeing and makes you feel more positive.
  • Gives you more energy.
  • Helps you sleep better at night.
  • Helps improve (lower)* blood glucose level as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Helps weight control and keeps joints mobile.
  • Strengthens your heart, improves circulation.


*If you take diabetes medication that leaves you at risk of a hypo, monitor your glucose levels and carry some fast-acting carbohydrate if doing strenuous or prolonged physical activity.


How much Physical activity is recommended?

The minimum requirement for activity to maintain health is 30mins of moderate activity 5 days a week. This can be broken into 10 -15 minutes sessions during the day.

It is also recommended that you add activities that increase muscular strength, endurance and balance on two or more days of the week.


Try these simple ways to increase activity levels:

  • Going up and down the stairs or corridor.
  • Be active in the garden.
  • Walk about outside in your garden if you can.
  • Get up to switch channels on the TV and do a walk about during the add break on TV or radios.
  • Reduce your sedentary time i.e. time you spend sitting down.


See booklet here for more ideas –

Getting Active for Better Health


The Cocooning Exercise booklet HSE Community Physio Leaflet developed by HSE Physios, Age Friendly, CLSP and Healthy Cities has been complimented with a great video.


Type 1 Diabetes and Activity

As in See:

Physical activity usually lowers your blood glucose levels so it is important to plan it carefully. Different forms of exercise affect blood glucose in different ways, and it may be necessary to employ different management strategies for different types of exercises.


e.g. Moderate intensity exercise of long duration such as distance swimming, running, cycling will cause your blood glucose levels to fall, and high intensity exercise of short duration such as weightlifting, will cause your blood glucose levels to rise.


Hypos can occur following exercise as glucose moves from the blood to the liver and muscles to replace the stores of glucose that have been used up during exercise. Every person is individual as are their responses to exercise and your actions need to be guided by your blood glucose levels.


Some general recommendations are:

  • Check blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise. These results help you and your diabetes team work out what adjustments you need to make to your insulin and/or food intake to exercise safely.
  • Do not exercise if the blood glucose levels are high (>14mmols/L) and you have ketones. If there is not enough insulin working in the body, the normal body stressors released during exercise will cause blood glucose levels to rise even further. High blood glucose levels can cause fatigue and poor performance.
  • Where possible avoid exercising totally alone – but you need to adhere to current COVID 19 social distancing guidelines and all HSE instruction during this time and alert a family member of your plan for exercise and time expected home.


Always carry some fast acting carbohydrate

Tell somebody where you are going

Carry your phone


If a hypo occurs 24 hours prior to exercise it increases the likelihood of a hypo occurring during exercise, so extra care should be taken. It is better to do regular blood glucose checks until you are familiar with your own body’s response to each type of exercise.

  • You should consider the timing of exercise in relation to your last insulin injection, the type of insulin, the dose, the insulin action and the site of injection, as these are all factors that will affect your blood glucose level during and after exercise.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and will support your feet. Check your feet afterwards to make sure there is no redness, blisters or hard skin forming.
  • Drink enough fluids to stay hydrated; don’t wait until you get thirsty.
  • Stop any activity and seek medical guidance if you feel unwell.


For further information on diabetes and sport see:




This information is intended as general information only and taken from:

Getting Active for Better Health