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Making a promise to get back into shape is a great New Year’s resolutions anybody can make. Exercise promotes weight loss, better cardiovascular health, increased focus, energy and stamina, plus a host of other benefits.
Combined with a healthy diet, staying fit with regular, frequent physical activity can also help diabetics strengthen their insulin levels and balance out blood sugar. But for people dealing with Type 2 diabetes, especially if it’s in tandem with years of sedentary living, starting even the simplest fitness regime can feel like training for a triathlon.
Incorporating exercise into your daily life doesn’t have to be daunting or discouraging. Here are some tips on setting realistic fitness goals to get you into the best shape of your life into the New Year and beyond.
Find something you love doing: If hitting the weights at the gym isn’t your cup of tea, think of something you enjoy doing that keeps you active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anything from gardening, joining a dance class, or brisk walking with handheld weights as a way to start. Look for stretching or balance exercise videos online as a perfect, simple starting point.
Start slow and work your way up: Even the fittest of fitness gurus had to start small and build up their workout routine, so don’t feel pressured to dive headfirst into an intensive exercise regimen. Begin with 10 minutes of short workouts a day, every day, and extend your exercise time as you build stamina and become more comfortable. The CDC says to find the best mix for you that adds up to 150 minutes of exercise per week; it could be 30 minutes five times a week, or 10 minutes several times a day. Find the routine that works best for you.
Monitor your progress: Using a fitness tracker, like a Fitbit or pedometer, keeps you on point and motivates you to raise the bar and challenge yourself to setting, reaching, and surpassing new exercise goals. In fact, studies have shown that people who used a pedometer increased their activity by more than 27 percent.
Stay active with other people: Don’t feel obligated to work out solo. Finding a friend or family member to work out with is also a great way to stay motivated. Joining a walking club or workout group not only introduces you to new people, but new types of workouts you may have never tried before. Partnering with another person with diabetes who’s made successful strides in weight loss or exercise can also give you feedback and tips that may help.
Make safety a priority: Before, during and after exercise, a diabetic’s chief concern should be their health and safety above all else. Prior to a workout, always check your blood sugar level, and bring a snack in case they drop too low. Wear identification clearly stating that you have diabetes. Circulation is important; always check your running or walking shoes and your feet prior to and following a workout for any swelling or bruises.
As always, check first with your doctor or a diabetes specialist before starting an exercise program.
This material was created specially for WorldHealthNews project by David Greeley.
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