To clarify the present state of exercise therapy for diabetes mellitus, we conducted a survey of 570 diabetic outpatients by written questionnaires. The results revealed that approximately 30% of the patients did not implement the prescribed exercise regimen. The principal reasons for low compliance were 'lack of time to do' and 'lack of mind to do'. 'Lack of time to do' was particularly numerous in male patients. Other reasons were 'lack of guidance by physician', 'lack of interest', 'lack of understanding of procedure'. These findings indicated that the patients should be motivated adequately when they are diagnosed as having diabetes and subsequently encouraged to reinforce their intentions by the physician and co-medical staff. Furthermore, they showed that specific approaches suitable for each individual patient and not standardized guidelines should be devised. As regards the daily environment of patients, the cooperation of the patient's family would be effective and the exercise facilities and the exercise guidance personnel should be augmented.