Benefits Of Treadmill For Diabetics

Diabetic woman running on a treadmill

By Simon Gould

Note – Please discuss with a health care professional any exercise you plan to do and how to work your diabetes around it.

Diabetes is a debilitating condition that can take the lives of its sufferers. It’s due to your body not producing enough insulin and this makes your blood glucose levels too high. Depending what kind you have means you have to manage it in different ways. Exercise can provide a crucial benefit to help control the problem and I’ll go through that here.

The different types of diabetes

Prediabetes – This is where your blood sugar levels are high but no immediate treatment is needed. They do, however, recommend lifestyle changes including exercise and weight loss if you’re overweight. If ignored, this condition can develop into type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes – This is where the pancreas no longer makes insulin to control your blood sugar levels. It is dangerous to have too much or too little glucose in the blood. There are various long and short acting insulin that’s injected. Your glucose levels need to be monitored very closely and this is where the skin is pricked and a test is made on the blood.

Type 2 Diabetes – This is one of the most common type of diabetes and affects around 30 million Americans. This is where the lifestyle change and exercise are most likely to help. People with type 2 produce insulin but can’t use it correctly. This is a chronic condition that can get worse overtime if nothing is done about it.

Gestational Diabetes – During pregnancy women may develop high sugar levels in the bloodstream. More glucose is needed due to the unborn baby needing extra support from the mother. But the mother needs help to generate enough insulin during this extra glucose. It’s treated through diet, exercise and/or insulin medications.

Aerobic exercise benefits for people with diabetes

Research shows aerobic exercise increases insulin sensitivity and resistance for those with type 2 diabetes. Aerobic exercise is what you do on a treadmill. It’s where your heart rate increases and you feel slightly out of breath for a period of time. This is different to anaerobic or resistance exercise such as weight lifting. Although that can help thoise with diabetes too.

In every type of diabetes you get benefits by reducing your sedentary time. Exercise helps everyone but particularly those who are diabetic. Exercise helps weight management which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes (Source). Those with type 1 diabetes need to talk to a doctor to decide when to exercise around your doses of insulin.

Exercising on a treadmill with diabetes

Where diet and lifestyle changes are concerned, it’s an important consideration for someone who’s diabetic.. With diabetes you’re advised to exercise like anyone else. You have to monitor your blood glucose closely and exercise helps that management. Study the effects for your type of diabetes to help you further.

Being physically active and weight loss go hand in hand and that’s what I can deal with here. If you’re new to exercising and the treadmill, or if you haven’t exercised for a while, I have the perfect routine. It’s a walk and run method to build you up from nothing to running for 30 minutes in 9 weeks. It’s called the couch to 5k on a treadmill.

If you’re on the heavier side then running in 9 weeks maybe too quick. But fear not. The treadmill can still be used for walking and you can walk and lose weight. The CDC advise 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week for great health benefits. This is half an hour of brisk walking every week day. You may not achieve this at first but you can build up to it.

Walking on a treadmill

So brisk walking is considered moderate exercise. When doing this exercise you should feel the heart beating and you may sweat. You should still be able to hold a conversation. With a treadmill, using the incline can make it harder for you. Depending on your stride length, brisk walking is around 3 mph or 4.8 km/h.

The following workouts I’ve provided is ideal for beginners to the treadmill who want to exercise and lose weight. The 3 treadmill hill workouts uses the incline on your treadmill. It can be tough so feel free to modify it yourself. The aim is to workout regularly. The walk plan for overweight beginners is a starter workout and increases the workout time slowly. Both are very good.

Running on a treadmill

With jogging or running on a treadmill, this is a vigorous physical activity. You only need to do 75 minutes of this activity per week as per the CDC for great health benefits. This is half that of moderate activity and equates to 15 minutes per week day or however you’d like to divide the time up. Jogging or running on a treadmill is 5.3 mph or 8.5 km/h and up.

The following routines are suitable for those who are already running or have exercised recently. Even though they mention weight loss, they are good for everyone for getting and maintaining a level of fitness and health. As before, they may be hard for some, so some changing would be good to suit your own fitness level. Running is a great step to extending your life, with or without diabetes.


Diabetes is such a serious condition that you can die from, or seriously shorten or reduce the quality of life. Some amputations have to be performed that could have been prevented by some changes in your lifestyle, and paying attention to your blood sugar levels. Don’t take it for granted, it’s a chronic condition that needs to be closely managed.

Where exercise is concerned you get the best of both worlds, it helps control your diabetes and, in time, will make you feel fantastic. After a few continuous weeks, exercise begins increasing the feel good hormones in your body. I feel great when I’ve exercised and that feeling lasts. You don’t have to do it for very long and it has great benefits for your body and mind.

Essential reading

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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