Toggle Navigation Menu

Lifestyle Changes Can Help People Living with Diabetes

Exercise and Diet Go a Long Way in Keeping Diabetes Under Control

 |  For Patients

In 2018, 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5% of the population, had diabetes. If you are living with diabetes, you may feel like you cannot control your overall health. However, there are certain lifestyle changes that can make a big difference in managing this condition.

Exercise and diet adjustments have proven to be very effective in keeping diabetes under control. We hope you feel empowered by the resources below and are able to take away a few key changes you can make to your lifestyle. We know these changes can have a positive influence on your overall health.


Why Exercise?

Did you know the recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes per week? This national recommendation proves physical activity is good for everyone, but there are a few key health benefits specifically for people living with diabetes, including:

  • Helps keep your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol levels on target
  • Lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Relieves stress
  • Helps insulin work better
  • Strengthens your heart, muscles, and bones
  • Improves your blood circulation and tones your muscles
  • Keeps your body and joints flexible

Try Different Types of Exercise

Three different types of exercise are necessary to target and strengthen different muscle groups in your body. Recommended activities include:

  • Being active throughout the day: walking, using the stairs, moving around
  • Aerobic exercise: brisk walking, swimming, or dancing
  • Strength training: Lifting weights or using resistance bands

It takes two minutes to register for a free American Diabetes Association (ADA) account to get access to this booklet of aerobic, resistance, balance, and flexibility exercises that you can do right from home.

Where to Exercise

Unsure of where to begin? The gym recommendations listed below can help you get started:

  • Budget gyms: Planet Fitness, EOS Fitness, YMCA, or a community center
  • Other gyms: LA Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Mountainside Fitness

Top 5 Recommendations to Stay Physically Active

  • Find a workout buddy who wants to stay active and hold each other accountable
  • Log your weekly exercise in a journal to track your progress and identify goals
  • Switch it up by trying group classes such as yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, Zumba, and cycling
  • Personal trainers can help you achieve weight loss and specific fitness goals if you need an additional push
  • Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine


Plan Your Portions

Control how much food you consume each meal to keep your blood sugar under control. You can access a variety of cost-effective, healthy recipes on the Diabetes Food Hub. Register for a free American Diabetes Association (ADA) account to get access to this diabetes placemat, which shows you exactly how much food you should be consuming, using your fist as the measuring tool.

Choose Smart Ingredients When Cooking

Eat Often:

  • Oil-based salad dressing: vinaigrette, oil, vinegar
  • Oils: canola, olive, sunflower, and peanut
  • Avocados, peanut or almond butter, olives, and seeds

Eat Sometimes:

  • Low-fat creamy dressing like light Ranch
  • Oils: corn, soybean, safflower, and sesame
  • Mayonnaise


  • Full-fat, creamy salad dressing like Ranch or blue cheese
  • Butter, lard, coconut oil
  • Margarine
  • Cream

Keep Track of Your Diet

There are several tools you can use to easily track your diet and become more mindful of the foods you are fueling your body with. We recommend using one of the options listed below if you are just getting started:

  • MyFitnessPal: A free app where you can track your physical activity and diet.
  • Fooducate: A personalized nutrition toolbox including food grades based on ingredients. This tool teaches you how to eat healthy and can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices.

Need Help?

The ACN concierge team can help you with a variety of tasks, including:

  • Finding an in-network nutritionist
  • Scheduling an appointment with your primary care provider to set goals and make a plan for lifestyle changes
  • Help you get access to essential resources such as food and housing, which will benefit your overall health
  • So much more!

Reach out today by calling 602.406.7226 or emailing

Source: American Diabetes Association, 2021

Select by:

Select by: