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There’s a lot to learn when you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes: food choices, portion sizes, carbohydrate counts, and blood sugar numbers. It’s enough to make you want to flop down on the couch and take a nap! But there’s something else that will really help you manage your diabetes and it can be lots of fun too… activity!

Activity of any kind is great for everyone, but especially so for people with type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps your body use insulin better, relieves stress, reduces your risk of heart disease, lowers blood sugar, lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol. All those benefits from just 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week! You should check with your doctor before getting started, as there may be specific instructions you should follow.

Here are some tips for incorporating activity and exercise into your daily routine:

Keep it simple. Walking is a fantastic way to get started with an exercise plan. If you’ve been a couch potato, take it slow at first and just try a 5 or 10 minute walk. You can build up your time each week by adding an additional 5 minutes until you reach your target of 30 minutes a day. If doing 30 minutes all at once is difficult or time is a problem, you can break it into 3 10-minute walks. The goal is to walk fast enough that you can talk, but not sing.

Play. Think back to childhood– what did you enjoy doing? There are so many things to choose from – swimming, biking, hiking, karate, dancing, and tennis are just a few.

Join a team. Team sports provide a great source of motivation and the added benefit of accountability. Don’t think you need to be an all-star to participate; there are tennis, softball, ultimate Frisbee, and basketball teams for all different levels of ability and experience.

Join a gym. If you have a gym nearby, you’ll have access to equipment for strength training, which is an important activity for building muscle. Most gyms also have a great variety of classes that can be fun and motivating for all fitness levels, like aerobics, kickboxing, Zumba or yoga. It’s easy to vary your routine and try something new.

Invest in some home equipment. If you prefer to exercise at home, you can purchase a few good DVDs and create your own gym in your living room. Resistance bands, a yoga mat, free weights, and a balance ball are all inexpensive tools that can offer some variety to your workouts.

Compete. If you like a challenge, sign up for a walk, run, bike ride or even triathlon that will give you a goal to work toward. You can even do something that supports your favorite charity. There are also several free apps (Nike+ is one) that will allow you to set up a walking or running challenge with your friends and family. Competition can be a great motivator!

Change it up. If you get bored easily, you can choose from any of these suggestions to customize an activity plan that will keep you motivated.

Learn more. Be sure to check our video to learn all the benefits of exercise. Learning all the things that exercise is doing for your body can sometimes be just the motivation you need to get moving…

Remember that exercise may cause a drop in your blood sugar, so if you’re on one of these medications, it’s important to exercise with a friend or wear a medical ID and carry a snack with you. Your doctor can advise you on when you need to test your blood sugar while exercising and what your blood sugar target should be.

So get up and start moving! In addition to managing your diabetes, you’ll reap many additional benefits that will keep you happy and healthy.

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4 comments:

  1. Melba Murphy

    11/05/2015 at 9:28 AM

    Great recommendations. Especially significant is the reminder that three 10 minute walks are just as helpful as one thirty minute walk. And the stress release from walking can help with any anxiety from monitoring your health condition.

    Reply
  2. Jo jorgenson

    03/01/2016 at 7:45 PM

    Sure,exercise is great! But when you can’t walk because of neuropathy, then what? NEVER believe a doctor who tells you to keep your HBA1C numbers down and you won’t have to worry about neuropathy. That a a lie! Why bother to exercise and try to eat right if you’re going to get neuropathy and end up a wheelchair patient anyway?

    Reply
    • admin

      03/14/2016 at 6:13 PM

      Jo, that’s a great point, and there are a lot of people with type 2 diabetes who struggle with neuropathy. Here’s a link for some great chair exercises that can help folks who are wheelchair-bound or maybe prefer staying seated to exercise–

      http://www.livestrong.com/article/94533-chair-exercises-elderly-people/

      And thank you for sharing your voice here– neuropathy and other complications can happen to people despite even the best attempts at blood sugar control.

      Warm regards,
      Ansley

      Reply
  3. Robert Bent

    12/07/2016 at 12:46 AM

    I’m type 2 diabetic, you all read about these wonderful things,to do, but who are they talking to?Im close to 94, but I never see commensts related to age.It seems they muist think,every type 2, is in their 50s or 60s.i do exercise daily, I eat small portions,and iaybe itgs me, but I only have watermelon for desserts,at lunch and dinner, keeps my blood count down to the 6 -7 range.

    Reply

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