Prescribing exercise for individuals with type 2 diabetes: recommendations and precautions

Phys Sportsmed. 2011 May;39(2):13-26. doi: 10.3810/psm.2011.05.1909.


An increasing prevalence of obesity and sedentary behavior has strongly contributed to the epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Although regular exercise improves glycemic control and is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, many physicians fail to prescribe it. This article highlights the recommended types and quantities of physical activities that can (and should) be undertaken by individuals with type 2 diabetes, along with precautions required to maximize the safety of exercise in those using various medications and in the presence of diabetes-related complications. This article assesses the need for pre-exercise stress testing, reviews the latest exercise prescription recommendations for individuals with type 2 diabetes, and recommends strategies to assist individuals in adopting and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*