Exercise and Being Active: What Do You Have to Lose?
Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first. I am not a diet or exercise or medical professional. I can only give you my experience. SEE YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY NEW EXERCISE OR FITNESS REGIMEN! There, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk. Besides changing how I eat, getting on a regular exercise regimen has been key to controlling my glucose numbers and getting healthier. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. There are still days when I am just tired and don’t want to do it. I try to make a rule for myself: exercise for just 5 or 10 minutes. If I want to stop after that, I can. What I find is that I rarely stop after the 5 or 10 minutes, and I usually go quite a bit longer. I’m very thankful I am fortunate enough to be able to work with a trainer for part of the time–having that appointment keeps me accountable. The trainer’s guidance is also important because I’ve had surgery on my back and need to make sure I am doing the right exercises and doing them correctly in order to avoid hurting myself. You don’t have to have a trainer to be accountable, though. Find a friend or join an exercise class or other fitness program–something where someone will notice if you are not there and where you can get support from others who are trying to be active and healthy, too. Exercise will do wonders for your glucose levels. It’s amazing to me how exercising in the morning actually seems to have an effect for several hours. I can definitely see a difference on the days I exercise compared to the days that I don’t. Here are some things to keep in mind once you have consulted with your doctor:
- Start small if you haven’t been regularly active for awhile. Any movement is better than none, so do what you can when you can.
- Do simple things, like parking further away from the door when you are out running errands, or take an extra lap around the mall when you are out shopping.
- Be sure to warm up before your workout and stretch after.
- If you want to walk for exercise, consider using a pedometer so you can track how far you go. There are also a number of free apps you can get for your phone that will help with tracking your activity.
- Use music to help keep you motivated and make your exercise time more enjoyable.
- Do stretches or balancing exercises in front of the TV. Do laps around the living room or pushups during commercials–anything to throw a little extra movement into your day.
- If you can’t make it to a class regularly, pick up a couple of exercise DVDs. There are some great ones out there.
- If your doctor says it’s okay, yoga is a great option. Stretching, strengthening, and some calming breathing can help you feel better, both mentally and physically.
- Don’t do the same exercise two days in a row–mix it up. Do some balance, some strength, some cardio. Find a fun activity, such as playing tag or a lively game of Frisbee with your kids.
- Make an exercise appointment with yourself. I know it can be hard to fit it in to a busy schedule, but there are ways to squeeze it in. You will be so much better able to take care of those you love if you are also taking care of yourself.
- Check your glucose levels before, during, and after your activity, so you know how it affects you and you can time your meals and snacks accordingly.