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Can Moderate Exercise Reverse Diabetes Damage?

If you have Type 2 diabetes, exercise can help reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, key to reversing it. Learn how to include moderate exercise in your daily routine.

Jayden Peters
Can Moderate Exercise Reverse Diabetes Damage?
Table Of Contents

Let's say you're a diabetic. You've been told time and time again that exercise is good for you, but you're just not sure if it's worth the effort. After all, you already have to prick your finger every day and watch your diet carefully—isn't that enough?

Diabetes is a serious problem that affects more and more people every year.

If you're one of the millions of people who have Type 2 diabetes, or if you're at risk for developing it, then it’s important to find ways to control blood sugar levels.

You definitely don’t want to be a slave to medication for life and surgery is as scary as it gets!

Well, new research confirms that even moderate exercise can help reverse some of the damage caused by Type 2 diabetes. A complete cure may not be possible but patients can definitely achieve a state where they won’t need medication.

So, science says that a complicated disease that has absolutely no cure is reversible (in parts) with mild physical activity?

Don't take my word for it; go through the details in the article below!

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes (Type 2 diabetes, to be exact), in a nutshell, is a condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar. Typically, your body breaks down the sugar in food and converts it into energy. However, if you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't effectively use the insulin it does produce.

This can cause your blood sugar level to become too high. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to serious health problems.

There are two main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes refers to when your body doesn't produce any insulin at all.
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body doesn't make enough insulin or can't effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels.

Diabetes’ Progression

A calorie-dense diet high in refined carbohydrates serves as the initial trigger. When we consume a lot of refined carbs (more than what our bodies need), our insulin levels rise to cope with the extra glucose.

Weight starts to build up around the belly (central or truncal obesity) in individuals who regularly eat a diet full of refined carbs. Consistently high insulin levels, covering high glucose intake, make cells resistant to insulin and result in weight gain.

Insulin resistance leads to extra glucose entering the bloodstream. When blood sugar rises, the pancreas comes into action and responds by producing more insulin. A lethal cycle starts - high sugar levels make you tired, and high insulin levels make you hungry.

You start eating more because you're hungry and move less because you are fatigued. The problem becomes deeply entrenched. This unhealthy cycle of overeating, inactivity, and elevated insulin can cause weight gain and further reduces sugar metabolization in the body.

In a completely catastrophic turn of events, beta cells that produce insulin in pancreas are damaged as the demand on the pancreas for extra insulin becomes too consistent. When beta cells are damaged, the body has difficulty creating insulin, which then causes blood sugar levels to increase rapidly.

And the person will begin to experience stronger symptoms such as excessive thirst and a constant need to urinate.

So what started off as a mere bad eating habit turns into a sinister, incurable disease that adversely affects multiple organs and systems in the body.

How Do We Cure Diabetes?

WE DON'T! There is no cure for the insidious disease. This is to say there is no way of reversing the damaging cycle of high blood sugar and insulin resistance. Once it sets in, it's here to stay. All that you hear about people taking insulin or eating a controlled diet is to control the BGLs (blood glucose levels) and not cure the condition.

We speak of remission, and not a cure, because it is not permanent. The beta cells have been damaged, the person's underlying genetic susceptibilities to diabetes always remain intact, and the disease process can start again (there remains a possibility). With something seemingly as harmless as weight gain, glucose intolerance can return with symptoms.

Why Exercise Matters for Diabetics?

If you have diabetes, your body isn't able to process glucose properly, which can lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood, causing a host of problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and stroke.

Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, meaning it can help your body process glucose in a better way and avoid these complications.

In addition, exercise reduces inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to obesity and many other diseases, so reducing it can, directly and indirectly, help with diabetes.

Plus, exercise boosts weight loss by increasing the number of calories burnt by your body. Weight loss is crucial to reversing some of the debilitating effects of diabetes and breaking the insidious cycle of BGLs and insulin increase in the body.

Once on a weight loss track, the diabetes shifts to reverse gear automatically, or at least, it is Interrupted.

Also, exercise means more physical activity, which is another helping factor in stopping or reversing insulin resistance, aka diabetes.

Exercise also lets you get more and better sleep- yet another way of optimizing your insulin levels. Plus, physical activity keeps depression and anxiety at bay which also helps control diabetes.

In short, exercise helps control, stop and reverse diabetes and several of its impacts in numerous direct and indirect ways. So, there isn't one solid reason why you shouldn't be on your feet if you are diabetic; there are many! For example, exercise improves insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness, and body composition.

All of these things can help lower your risk of developing complications from diabetes. But that's not all, exercise also helps boost your mood, reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.

So if you're looking for an excuse to get up and moving, remember that exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health - especially if you're living with diabetes.

But Which Exercise?

This is a big question; Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and partially reversed with physical activity, such as:


Aerobics! Yes, get your heart rate up with some aerobics every day. Aerobic activity is any exercise that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. It's one of the most effective ways to improve insulin resistance, lower blood sugar, and reverse prediabetes.

You'll feel so much better with 30 minutes of aerobics because of the happy hormones that are released in your bloodstream. And automatically keep your BGLs in check as well.

There are so many options when it comes to aerobics; you can jog, run, swim, hike or cycle.

At home, you can use a treadmill, stationary cycle, elliptical, or any machine that fits your space and works for you. If you want a compact tool, DMoose aerobic steppers are the best option.

Team sports like football, hockey, and softball are also great for pumping your heart.

Strength Training

Strength training helps with weight loss, improves cardiac health, burns more calories, and strengthens the body. If you have mobility, neuropathy issues, or just have limited space or an overwhelmingly busy schedule, then strength training is your answer to the lethal Type 2 diabetes.

Both aerobics and strength training work for diabetics BUT a mixture of both is just perfect. The American Diabetes Association reports that people who do aerobic and resistance training together have lower blood sugar levels than those who participate in only one activity.

So, if you can manage, do both; 5 days of aerobics and two days of strength training. This is your ticket to reversing and defeating Type 2 diabetes.


1. Does exercise reverse complications of diabetes?

Yes, exercise can help reverse some of the complications of diabetes. Regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity, help control blood sugar levels, and reduce stress and inflammation.

Exercise can also help prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. However, checking with your doctor before starting any new exercise program is important, especially if you have any other health concerns. If you have diabetes, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while exercising.

2. How long does it take to reverse diabetes with diet and exercise?

People with Type 2 diabetes often wonder how long it will take to see results from their lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, there's no set time frame for the disease reversal. However, most experts agree that with medication and lifestyle changes, patients could start seeing a difference within three to six months.

3. How much can A1C drop in 3 months?

The good news is that if your A1C is excessively high, such as 10% or more, it will certainly start to fall within two to three months (in other words, the greater the discrepancy, the sooner it will go down) whether you have diabetes or not or if you have diabetes but don't want to take medicine for a variety of reasons.

4. Can Type 2 diabetes be reversed permanently?

Type 2 diabetes cannot be reversed completely, and there is always the danger of blood sugar levels rising again. However, a doctor may assist you in controlling your blood sugar levels, which can slow the development of diabetes and avert problems.

5. How much weight do you have to lose to reverse type 2 diabetes?

People who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and then lost weight on a calorie-restrictive diet in one research returned their blood sugar levels to normal, according to a 2011 study. In a 2016 follow-up research, persons who had suffered with diabetes for up to 10 years could reverse the condition when they lost about 33 pounds.


Exercising for just 30 minutes per day can help reverse some of the damage caused by diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation throughout the body. So if you're looking for a way to improve your health, try adding some moderate exercise into your daily routine today!

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Borghouts, L. B., and H. A. Keizer. ‘Exercise and Insulin Sensitivity: A Review’. International Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 21, no. 1, Jan. 2000, pp. 1–12. PubMed,
  • Colberg, Sheri R., et al. ‘Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes’. Diabetes Care, vol. 33, no. 12, Dec. 2010, pp. e147–67. PubMed Central,
  • Khazaei, Majid. ‘Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation after Exercise: Controversies’. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, vol. 15, no. 5, 2012, pp. 1008–09. PubMed Central,
  • Krishnan, Sridevi, et al. ‘Zumba® Dance Improves Health in Overweight/Obese or Type 2 Diabetic Women’. American Journal of Health Behavior, vol. 39, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 109–20. PubMed,
  • ‘Reversing Type 2 Diabetes’. Research, Accessed 20 Sept.
  • Sami, Waqas, et al. ‘Effect of Diet on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Review’. International Journal of Health Sciences, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, pp. 65–71. PubMed Central,

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Jayden Peters

Mr. Peters is a US based health and lifestyle content writer. He thinks healthy living is about flexibility, balance and discovering what works for your body. He is has notable experience in topics including health and wellness, yoga, fitness equipments etc.

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