Do you have a recent type 2 diabetes diagnosis? Along with medication and diet, a physical fitness routine can help you control aspects of this common condition. If you're new to the world of group exercise, take a look at what you need to know about these classes and diabetes.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, according to the CDC. Instead of one 150-minute class, spread out this activity goal over the week. Take a shorter group class a few times per week or try a few different options.

What Are the Benefits of Exercise?

Before you choose to join a group class, you may want to learn more about the benefits of exercise for adults with type 2 diabetes. Exercise can help everyone to live a healthy lifestyle. But for people with diabetes, the need to maintain a regular physical fitness routine has special importance. A regular exercise routine can help you to control your weight, build strength, gain flexibility, and de-stress.

Physical activity can also help people with type 2 diabetes to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels. While exercise isn't a substitute for prescription treatments (such as insulin), activity level is a lifestyle factor that you can't ignore. As a person with type 2 diabetes, you need to think of the big picture. Instead of just one type of treatment, combine medical and lifestyle options to reduce the overall risks to your health.

What Type of Class Should You Choose?

Now that you know why exercise is important for people with type 2 diabetes, it's time to take the next step and choose a class. There isn't one type of exercise program or class that will help all people with diabetes. Along with your total time goals (150 minutes per week), the specific class you select should:

  • Interest you. Choose a class you enjoy. You're more likely to attend and participate in an interesting class.
  • Fit your healthcare needs. Talk to your doctor or endocrinologist before starting a new exercise program. You may have diabetes-related physical restrictions to consider. Your medical provider can help you to select a class that meets overall activity needs—and puts your health first.
  • Help you to succeed. The instructor/leader and your classmates should create a supportive community that can help you to meet (and possibly exceed) your health and fitness goals.

If you're not sure which option is the just-right fit, try a few group exercise classes. You might find a new physical fitness program that's interesting, enjoyable, and meets your diabetes-related needs.