November is American Diabetes Month. We have already explored the ways in which changing your diet can have a big impact on keeping your diabetes in check, and now we will talk about another major component of diabetes management: fitness.
When you exercise for diabetes management, it’s a great tool for keeping your blood glucose levels stable. The American Diabetes Association explains that “when you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so it can work more efficiently. Your cells also remove glucose from the blood using a mechanism totally separate from insulin during exercise.”
And the good news is, creating a diabetes exercise program doesn’t mean that you have to train for a marathon in order to feel the positive effects from exercise. Just 30 minutes of physical activity per day is enough to make a difference. Here’s how you can get started:
Get A Fitness Tracker
When it comes to type 2 diabetes and exercise, a wearable fitness tracker can help to make you much more aware of the amount of physical activity you are getting throughout the day. It has been recommended that for maximum health benefits, you should be taking 10,000 steps per day--which is equivalent to roughly 5 miles. By comparison, those who are relatively sedentary are taking between 1,000 and 3,000 steps per day.
When you start a diabetes exercise program, a fitness tracker can help you figure out what your baseline is in order to better help you set your fitness goals. For example, if you realize that you are walking 3,000 steps per day, make your goal 5,000. Every time you hit your goal, try to increase it by 1,000 for the following week. Eventually, you will hit your goal of 10,000!
Grab a Buddy
Starting a new diabetes exercise program with a buddy can help to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. Not to mention that planning workouts with a buddy is also a great way to socialize and have fun! Aside from having someone to go for long walks with, you can also try the following activities with a friend:
- Biking or a spin class
- Swim aerobics
And don’t let bad weather stop you either! There are plenty of indoor activities that will help you stay fit as well.
Make an Inspiration Board
Sometimes it’s easiest to achieve new goals when you have a visual reminder to help you keep pushing yourself in the right direction. We recommend having a physical board in your home and keeping it somewhere you can see it every day to help keep you motivated. If you need a little digital inspiration, however, Women’s Health has identified 9 different fitness Pinterest boards to help jumpstart your own.
Include a mix of inspirational quotes and visual reminders of the goals you want to achieve. It’s the Law of Attraction, according to MindBodyGreen.com: “The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with positive images of who you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live and the things you are grateful for, your life changes to match those images and those desires.”
Getting Fit Also Means Being Proactive
Part of taking control of your health means being proactive and that includes keeping your diabetes under control. When it comes to type two diabetes, exercise and diet changes are a necessary component to management.
But even when you pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly, you can still experience slip-ups with low blood sugar. Be sure to keep your Medical Guardian medical alert device with automatic fall detection on hand in case of emergencies.