älteres Paar Ratgeber Diabetes

Diabetes and exercise

Regular activity is fun, improves mood, strengthens the immune system and reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Just 2 x 30 minutes of movement per week at medium intensity reduces the risk of developing diabetes by 30-40%. In people who have developed type 2 diabetes, adapted exercise therapy can be used to regulate the increased blood sugar level.

Physical activity means that the body and musculature use more energy. Depending on the amount and intensity of exercise, this energy is made available from different stores, including glucose and fat deposits.

Sport also reduces the risk of many diseases:

  • Reduced risk of heart attack
  • Reduced risk of high blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis and slower onset of the illness
  • Reduced depression, anxiety and stress symptoms
  • Activity and mobility continuing for longer in older people

What types of sport are effective?

Physical movement of any kind is generally helpful. The most effective exercise for people with type 2 diabetes and who are overweight is medium-intensity, endurance-oriented sports, i.e. dynamic load with high energy usage. This means that the following sports are ideal:

  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Gymnastics and aerobics

As people with type 2 diabetes are often also overweight, sports that are gentle on the bones and joints should generally be preferred. In sports like swimming or cycling, the person's weight is carried by the water or by the saddle, meaning that there is less strain on the joints.

Regular strength training should be integrated alongside your endurance training to ensure that muscles are strengthened and endurance training is not hindered by any complaints. Technically demanding sports such as ball games (basketball, volleyball), combat sports or racket sports (tennis, badminton) are suitable to a limited extent. Maximum strength training should be avoided, for this increases the internal muscle pressure, the blood vessels are pushed together, the blood flow reduced and the blood pressure increased.

Consult a doctor before playing sport. This eliminates risk and your training programs can be optimised by an ECG during exercise.

Sport and type 1 diabetes

For people with type 1 diabetes, sport does not reduce weight and improve blood sugar levels, but increases the heart's pumping power and improves physical fitness. In order to play sport, it is essential to self-monitor blood sugar levels. Blood sugar must be monitored, diet controlled and, if necessary, insulin reduced. Before starting to play sport, it is essential that you consult a doctor and undergo a preliminary medical examination.

Training intensity

How do I train properly and protect my body and especially my heart against abnormal stress? Our heart is a muscle the size of a clenched fist, which performs the central task of maintaining blood flow in the body. The heart pumps blood into the lungs to supply it with oxygen, but also pumps the oxygenated blood to the body in order to supply the cells with oxygen. Heart rate, which can be calculated in various ways, can be used as a measure of proper exercise (Hauner, 2007) - see table. FO

TIP: In order to guard against excessive exercise and to control the pulse during exercise, the wearing of a pulse monitor is recommended.

Training duration

In people with type 2 diabetes, training is not concerned with increasing pumping capacity, but primarily with weight reduction, blood sugar level and blood pressure. An exercise period of at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days a week is recommended.

The longer the exercise period, the higher the energy consumption and therefore the greater the effect in reducing weight and lowering blood sugar levels. Alongside these positive results, regular movement also has a powerful effect on well-being, exercises the mind and helps to further reduce stress. It is recommended that you integrate your training into your daily routine. It should be part of daily life, like food and drink.

Tips for the weekly training program

Training type



Endurance training (e.g. jogging, swimming, cycling)

Heart rate

HF = 175 – age

>3x a week

At least 30 minutes per training unit

Strength and endurance training

15 – 20 reps

2x per week