How I manage healthy exercise as a prediabetic with arthritis

minute read
June 5, 2023
A prediabetic Indian woman practicing yoga.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author of this story. Photo credit - Jared Rice.

After I turned 40, I realised how important it is to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. And that this is especially true if you have diabetes or prediabetes – Exercise can help improve blood sugar control, reduce the risk of complications, and keep your mind clear.

As a prediabetic with arthritis, I’ve found that incorporating exercise into my daily routine has significantly helped me manage my condition – But I need to choose my types of exercise carefully.

Here are exercises that have worked well for me and may help you if you’re an older diabetic:


Walking is a low-impact exercise that’s perfect for seniors. It doesn’t require any money, and you don’t have to go out of your way to find a suitable place to do it – Parks and footpaths are everywhere.

Walking was one of the first things I tried when building exercise into my daily routine, and it’s proved well worth it. In the beginning, the thought of spending so much energy on exercise was daunting. But with simple walks, I could take baby steps and gradually increase the length and pace – This is incredibly convenient when your health is already fragile or you tire easily.


Yoga’s another great exercise for the elderly, improving your flexibility and strength and reducing stress.

There are many types of yoga, so it’s important to find a style suitable for your fitness level.

I started by simply watching YouTube videos at home, but many yoga studios offer senior or beginner classes too. Classes can also be a great way to meet people and connect socially, further boosting your mood.


While not possible for everyone, depending on your condition, swimming is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health without putting stress on your joints.

If your health allows it, and you have access to a pool, consider adding swimming to your exercise routine. I was reluctant at first, but having convinced myself to try swimming, I’ve grown quite fond of it.


One of my favourite ways to exercise is cycling – It’s a great way to get some cardio and build leg strength.

You can ride a stationary bike at home, join a cycling class at a local gym, or just ride your bike along the nearest cycling track.

I invested in a stationary bike so I could cycle at home, and it’s been very worthwhile.

Resistance training

Though it’s not the most popular form of exercise, resistance training is a good way to build muscle mass and improve insulin sensitivity.

You can do it with weights, resistance bands, or even bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges.

This is one of the more recent exercises I’ve tried, so I’m starting with light weights and resistance bands. But I plan to slowly increase the intensity.

If you’re an older diabetic, you may find resistance training a little too hard. So consult with your doctor before trying it.


Pilates is another exercise I tried and found worked well for me. It’s low-impact and can help you build stability, core strength and flexibility.

My mother-in-law (an elderly diabetic) and I enrolled in pilates classes together and we’ve both found it really rewarding.

Final thoughts

As a prediabetic with arthritis, I learned that finding the right form of exercise for you can make a big difference in your condition. And I learned that if you feel any unusual strain on a muscle or a joint, it’s important to consult with your physiotherapist immediately – Don’t wait for something to go wrong.

Physiotherapy sessions have been a regular part of my routine for a while now, and they’ve helped me improve my health immensely.

As someone with a serious health condition, it’s also important to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. They can help you determine what exercises are safe and suitable for your fitness level, and make sure you don’t go beyond your limits and hurt yourself.

And as well as exercising regularly, you need to maintain a healthy diet and regularly monitor your blood sugar. By incorporating exercise into your daily routine and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can improve your overall health and better manage your diabetes or prediabetes – It’s never too late to start exercising and take control of your health.

Graphic of a female profile picture.
Sana Tayyab

Sana Tayyab is a 40+ year old prediabetic with arthritis. She incorporates healthy exercises in her daily life to avoid type 2 diabetes, and at the same time not make her arthritis worse.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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