Daily Physical Activity for Children with Diabetes
Talk with a qualified health care provider about what level of activity is best for the child. Start by encouraging 5-10 minutes of exercise each day. Aerobic exercise, that gets the heart beating faster and uses the large muscles, can help keep blood glucose levels in balance. It can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Exercise also can help the child sleep better, feel more relaxed, and even help concentrate better.
Simple ways to work more activity into the child's life include the following:
- Walking the dog with a parent or friend
- Playing tag or going for a walk together
- Bike riding with a parent or a friend (wear a helmet)
- Raking leaves together
- Taking a hike as a family
- Taking the stairs instead of an elevator at the mall
- Roller skating, jumping rope, or swimming
- Joining a community sports program (e.g., soccer, softball, basketball)
Ask a qualified health care provider if the child should have blood glucose levels checked before starting an exercise program and about how medication may affect levels during exercise. Make sure the child has a snack available in case blood glucose levels get low.