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Diabetes and Arthritis - A Pair That Can Make Exercise Difficult

Finding a Way to Stay Active


Updated May 14, 2008

Diabetes and Arthritis - A Pair That Can Make Exercise Difficult
Kim Steele/Getty Images

Exercise is an important part of diabetes management. It lowers blood glucose levels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It also helps you keep your weight down, burns fat, and builds muscle, which helps lessen insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. But what if you have arthritis in addition to diabetes? It isn't easy to exercise when your joints are aching.

The CDC says that at least 50% of people with diabetes also have arthritis; that is in comparison to 27% of all adults. This is based on a the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a nationwide, randomized telephone survey in which participants answered questions about their health.

According to the Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program, gentle exercise that promotes flexibility, strength and cardiovascular benefits is important for people with arthritis, too. It keeps joints from becoming stiff, strengthens the support structures surrounding the joints, and increases well-being.

Good exercise choices include swimming, walking, bicycling, yoga and tai chi, as they provide the benefits of movement without much joint impact. As always, check with your physician before starting any exercise program.

More from your diabetes guide:

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Benefits of Exercise
  5. Diabetes, Arthritis and Exercise - Exercising with Diabetes and Arthritis

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