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Exercising with Diabetes Complications

If you have had diabetes for a long time and have developed complications, you may have questions about whether you should be engaging in physical activity—and if so, what kind of physical activity is best for your condition.

According to Jacqueline Shahar, MEd, RCEP, CDE, a clinical exercise physiologist and manager of Exercise Services in the Joslin Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center, patients with diabetes complications should definitely continue to find appropriate opportunties for physical activity. In the Joslin’s Easy Start program many patients have significant diabetes complications and are able to exercise regularly and safely as part of their diabetes self-management plan.

There is always some type of exercise people with complications can do. Not remaining activity can lead to developing additional complications and loss of functional capacity (the ability to do the activities of daily living).

Here are some of the more common diabetes complications and recommendations for exercise for each

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage in the extremities, causing tingling, pain or loss of sensation in your toes, feet and fingers. Peripheral neuropathy increases the risk of loss of balance—and subsequently the increased risk of falling. In addition, the pain and burning can make it difficult to walk.

Exercise prescription:

Incorporate balance exercises and avoid weight-bearing activities such as walking or jogging. Good choices are the stationary bike and swimming.

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