What is physical activity?

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement or motion that requires the use of energy. If physical activity consists of a planned, structured and repetitive bodily movement, it is then called exercise (1).

Why should I stay physically active?

Regular physical activity enhances both mental and physical health, increases independence and improves sleep (2). In patients with diabetes, regular physical activity reduces the progression of HA1c, blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight (3).

How often should I do physical activity?

Any amount of movement or physical activity for short bouts of 10 mins count towards the physical activity recommendations which is 20 to 30 mins of physical activity per day (4).

How intense should my physical activity be?

Physical activity intensity depends on individual health condition, preferences and goals. Progression of intensity should be slow and gradual.

What type of physical activity should I perform?

Perform low intensity aerobic exercises to maintain functional independence, resistance exercise to strengthen muscles and bones, and balance exercises to prevent falls and injuries (4).

Aerobic Exercises
3 to 5 days a week
20 to 30 mins a day
Resistance Exercises
1 to 2 days a week
1 set of 10 to 12 repetitions
Balance Exercises
1 to 2 days a week
Household chores
Climbing stairs
Stationary biking
Wall pushups
Sit to stand
Stair step
Calf raises
Seated knee tucks
Bicep curls using water bottles
Walking routine to improve balance
Single leg stance
Side leg raises
Leg curls

How should I begin?

  • Ask your doctor if you are cleared to perform resistance exercises.
  • Start small by setting easy and realistic goals.
  • Pay attention to your body. Perform slow and controlled movements. If an activity is causing chest pain or discomfort, stop immediately.
  • Assess your health concern. Plan your medication and exercise timing accordingly.
  • Involve your family and friends to help you reach your physical activity goals.

How can I stay physically active at home?

  • Interrupt your screen time by getting up during commercials (5).
  • Perform chair exercises while watching TV.
  • If you can, participate in household tasks (gardening, cleaning, cooking).
  • Watch and follow exercise videos on your phone or TV.


  1. Pescatello, L. S., Riebe, D., & Thompson, P. D. (Eds.). (2014). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing
    and prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Powell, K. E., King, A. C., Buchner, D. M., Campbell, W. W., DiPietro, L., Erickson, K. I., … & Kraus,
    W. E. (2019). The Scientific Foundation for the Physical Activity. Journal of Physical Activity and
    Health, 16, 1-11.
  3. Hawkins, M. S., Sevick, M. A., Richardson, C. R., Fried, L. F., Arena, V. C., & Kriska, A. M. (2011).
    Association between physical activity and kidney function: National Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(8), 1457-1464.
  4. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). (2020). Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.
  5. Colberg, S. R., Sigal, R. J., Yardley, J. E., Riddell, M. C., Dunstan, D. W., Dempsey, P. C., … & Tate,
    D. F. (2016). Physical activity/exercise and diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes
    Association. Diabetes Care, 39(11), 2065-2079.

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