If you have type 2 diabetes, you may not realize that working out is actually a safe and effective way of helping you manage your condition. While taking your medicine and adjusting your diet are obviously important components of your care, exercise is crucial to helping you slim down and keep your blood sugar in check. Still, you may not know where to begin, particularly if you weren’t very active in the past.
The following tips will help you establish an exercise routine that you will feel comfortable with.
1. Exercise in quick bursts
Tip: Remember to consult your physician if you’re pregnant or if you think you have gestational diabetes. When you make the choice not to control such a powerful sickness, you are making the choice to no longer control your life and are putting your unborn child in serious danger.
There is no reason you have to commit to one long workout session each day. Your goal is to achieve 30 minutes of activity, but if you want to break that up into three 10 minute sessions, or two 15 minute sessions, that is completely fine. If you are able to find a routine that works for your schedule, you are much more likely to continue exercising on a regular basis, which is important for your diabetes.
2. Have a goal in mind
Tip: Diabetics should eat modest portions, more often — as often as six times a day, instead of three. Eating smaller, healthy meals frequently during the day helps maintain the stability of your blood sugar levels.
When working out, be specific. For example, if your main form of exercise is walking, aim to achieve a certain number of steps in a day and a week’s time. Having a goal will motivate you to keep going even if you are tired, and it will help you see how successful you are over time.
3. Get an exercise buddy
Tip: To stay on top of your diabetes, remind yourself of what you gain by managing the condition. Think about what keeps you from doing the things you love, and how you can change that.
If you do not enjoy working out, finding a friend to participate in an exercise routine with you might be just what you need. Ideally, the person would live close enough to you that you could both get together every day and walk or ride bikes. However, if that is not possible, find someone willing to enter in a “contract” with you.
The idea is that both of you will commit to a certain level of exercise, and as part of your deal, you will both call and encourage each other at least once a day. It is a way of holding you accountable for your exercise program, and it works very well.
Tip: Even when diabetes makes you feel ill, or steals your appetite, you must take care to nourish yourself regularly, and keep track of your glucose levels. Fluids are very important during times of low glucose levels.
Research shows that having a pedometer encourages people to get up and get moving. In general, those with pedometers engaged in about 25 percent more physical activity than those that did not have one.
A good goal to set is 10,000 steps a day, but believe it or not, even people who don’t meet that goal still benefit from the device. They tend to walk more than someone who doesn’t have a pedometer and they are more successful at losing weight, as well.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you probably understand the importance of taking your medicine and adjusting your diet. However, it is possible that you did not realize how important exercise is to your health.
Implement the tips above as soon as possible. They will help you get a routine in place that you can feel good about and that you will commit yourself to seeing through each day.