You hear it all the time from your doctor, family, and diabetes educator: Exercise is important. So why aren’t you exercising? Sometimes, things are easier said than done. It’s not so easy to start a new behavior when you’re used to doing things a certain way. It takes time and effort to start a
new journey. But hard work does have its rewards.
Take the first step. Soon those small steps will add up and the exercise will become a habit.
Tackling Common Excuses
According to the CDC, people face many barriers to starting exercise. Have you ever said the following?
It’s just too hard. Being more active doesn’t mean spending hours at the gym! Start by walking for 10 minutes after dinner. Over time, try to walk up to 30 minutes most days.
The results take too long. Some benefits start right away, even if you can’t see them right away. Check your blood sugar before and after you take a walk. You’ll likely see a lower number after the walk. Stick with it over time and you’ll see more obvious results.
It’s just not fun. Find an activity you enjoy, and it can be lots of fun! You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you’re having fun. It might also help to invite a friend to exercise with you.
It costs too much. Not true! Walking after meals, dancing to your favorite tunes at home, or working out to online videos are free and can be done at times convenient for you.
It’s hard to find the time. We get it. We’re all busy! There are ways to squeeze physical activity into your day, though. Take the stairs, play outside with your kids, or get up and move during TV commercials.
I’m just too old. It’s never too late to start being more active! Try low-impact activities like pool walking and swimming. Talk to your health care provider about activities that you can do to get started.
I’m too out of shape. Start slowly, and work your way up to more activity. Add simple activities like walking to your mailbox or parking farther away from the store so you can add more steps. Discuss other ideas with your health care provider.
The Four W's of Exercise
Now that we’ve pushed our excuses aside and we’re ready to take the first step, ask yourself these four questions about exercise:
Why should I exercise?
- Increase your insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Reduce your risk of falls
- And more!
When should I exercise?
Anytime! During the summer, exercise during a cooler part of the day, and remember to hydrate.
What kinds of activity should I do?
Exercise comes in many forms. What do you enjoy?
- Chair exercises
- Zumba exercises on YouTube
Where should I exercise?
The answer is simple: Anywhere!
- Flex with some books or cans of veggies while you watch TV
- Walk at the mall
- Go up and down stairs
- Do chair exercises while at work
- Dance it out
Let’s go exercise! But, first, remember to take these safety precautions during exercise.
- Is your blood sugar >250mg/dL? Call your doctor. It’s not good to exercise if the glucose is elevated. Your body will not react in a positive way to exercise.
- Drink water to stay hydrated. Dehydration also leads to elevations in blood glucose.
- Check your feet before and after exercise. They carry us and need our respect. Look for sores, blisters, cuts, bruises, or other injuries. Notify your doctor if you notice changes in your feet.
- Know the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Did you know that exercise lowers blood glucose? That’s good, unless it drops too low. If you feel dizzy, shaky, hungry, weak, anxious or confused, stop what you’re doing and quickly check your blood glucose.
- If your blood glucose dips below 70, treat this ASAP! Consume 15 grams of carbs. This can come from a ½ cup of fruit juice or regular soda (not diet) or four glucose tablets. This will help ensure your blood sugar doesn’t fall too low while being physically active. Make sure you carry your meter and hypoglycemia treatments with you when you’re exercising.
Join our Free Diabetes Support Group
Join us at our next Diabetes Support Group. This month, we’ll dig deeper into the four W’s of being active. NMC Health dietician, nutritionist, and diabetes educator Humda Raeli will discuss why physical activity is important. Physical therapist Jeff Couchman will be our guest speaker and will demonstrate simple exercises to help you stay active.
Both in-person and virtual options are available.
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. LIVE at NMC Health | 600 Medical Center Drive (registration not required)
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Virtual Zoom Session