Live Well

Manage your diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes and Physical Activity

Physical activity becomes even more important to consider for someone living with diabetes and is an essential component of diabetes management.

Regular physical activity can decrease the risk of diabetes complications, improve how insulin works, improve glucose levels, fitness and well-being.

Read more about how physical activity helps diabetes management here.

So how much do we need to do to gain these benefits?

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activityModerate intensity activity – Increase heart rate, increased breathing, perspiration, can hold a conversation but cannot sing. Approximately 55-70% of maximum heart rate or about 3-4/10 perceived exertion. , most days of the week, or
  • At least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activityVigorous intensity activity – High heart rate, breathlessness, cannot hold an uninterrupted conversation, generally not sustainable for longer than about 30 minutes. Approximately 70-90% of maximum heart rate or about 5-6/10 perceived exertion. , most days of the week
  • No more than 2 consecutive days without activity
  • At least 2 non-consecutive days of resistance trainingResistance training – Exercises involving pushing, pulling, or lifting weight to strengthen large muscle groups. May include machine weights, free weights, resistance bands, and or body weight. per week
    • 8-10 exercises
    • 1-3 sets
    • 10-15 repetitions (you should feel you can’t do more than 15)
  • Limit sitting time

If we have not done much activity before, it can be difficult to get going, particularly with the added stress of managing diabetes. Research suggests only one third of Australians living with diabetes are meeting the above guidelines.

So, how can we start or increase physical activity?

Some helpful websites:


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Have a look at Diabetes WA’s free, online healthy lifestyle programs.

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