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Diabetes Standards of Care & Clinical Practice Resources

Physical Activity

Physical activity is important for achieving glycemic control goals, and it is a core component of diabetes self-management. Physical activity improves strength and endurance, improves insulin action, lowers blood glucose levels, improves body mass index, and reduces depression.

Any increase in physical activity is beneficial for patients. Physical activity does not have to be limited to structured aerobic or resistance exercise; it includes activities such as walking, gardening, dancing and any movement of the body that uses energy.

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Physical Activity Sections

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Clinical Practice Recommendations

Recommendations for Physical Activity

  • Document patients' level of physical activity at diabetes visits and encourage individuals to set behavioral goals to begin or increase physical activity.
  • Assess patients for medical conditions that might affect the type, frequency, and intensity of physical activity in which they engage.
  • When available, referral to a fitness specialist for supervision and coaching is highly recommended. There are fitness specialists and programs available in many AI/AN communities.

Patient Education Resources

Online Catalog: Free Physical Activity/Exercise Resources

IHS Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention


ADCES7 Self Care Behaviors™: Being Active Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov 

Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists


Get Active Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Exercise & Physical Activity Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov 

National Institute on Aging