LifeQuest is the club that cares about you! We want to see our members and community healthy and happy above all else. With 29 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, we thought that we could share some tips on managing the disease and living a better life with it. As always, let us know if there is anything that we can do to help you keep on track and stay healthy while fighting diabetes.
1. Get a move on- Exercise is safe and highly recommended for most people with type 2 diabetes, including those with complications. Along with diet and medication, exercise will help you lower blood sugar and lose weight. However, the prospect of diving into a workout routine may be intimidating. If you’re like many newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics, you may not have exercised in years, tired in the beginning, and dropped off now. If that’s the case don’t worry: It’s fine to start slow and work up. Remember LifeQuest is here for you and we would love the opportunity to walk next to you and help you meet your fitness goals.
2. Try quick workouts- As long as you’re totaling 30 minutes of exercise each day, several brief workouts are fine as well.
3. Focus on overall Activity- Increase activity in general – such as walking or climbing stairs – rather than a particular type of exercise. Don’t rely on housework or other daily activity as your sole exercise. Too often people overestimate the amount of exercise they get and they underestimate the number of calories they consume.
4. Get a pedometer – Stanford University researchers conducted a review of 25 studies looking at the use of pedometers as motivation for physical activity. People who used a pedometer increased their activity by 27%. Having a goal of 10,000 steps a day (about five miles ) was important, even if the goal wasn’t reached. Pedometer users lost more weight, had a greater drop in blood pressure, and walked about 2,500 steps more per day than those who did not use a pedometer.
5. Work out with a friend – working out with friends can be an important motivation, particularly for people over 60. Having a friend call or setting up an exercise “contract” with a buddy may help.
6. Set specific, attainable goals – for example, you might set a goal of walking 10 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. It helps for people to set up very specific goals.
7. Reward yourself – Rather than focusing on the bad things that could happen if you don’t exercise, reward yourself for reaching your goals. You might say “OK, if I exercise 10 minutes three times a week for the next three weeks, then I’ll call my sister-in-law who lives in Australia.
8. Use Visual Cues – Put a note on the refrigerator or keep your walking shoes next to the back door as a reminder to go for a walk and it’ll be more likely to happen.
9. Write it all down. Write down your goals, be specific, and keep a record every time you do exercise. Record on your calendar every day whether you exercised for 10 to 15 minutes or more.
10. Join a Class – A class is good because there is an exercise leader and someone to call for emergency help, if necessary. LifeQuest offers many great land and water classes. If you are used to participating in land classes than try and water class and vice versa. Keep your workouts interesting by trying new classes, different equipment.
11. Don’t set goals too high – It’s much better to set a realistic goal and reach it. You are much more likely to be successful if you start with small, easily attainable goals and gradually increase them.
12. Look at the big picture – Working up to a moderate amount of exercise quickly isn’t that important in terms of your health. What really matters is next year you are doing it all the time. Getting there eventually in a way that you are able to stay with it is what is important because it is a long-term behavior change that is going to keep you healthy.
13. Get an exercise “prescription”. A fitness trainer can measure how physically fit you are and prescribe a specific intensity of exercise and how to progress to the next level. It’s based on that individual’s fitness stake. For a person that is very unfit, and has not been exercising, the exercise prescription will be at a low moderate intensity and then move to a slightly higher intensity and/or longer duration. Our Trainers at LifeQuest would be a great person to start with to for an assessment. Working with a personal trainer one to one will allow you to have an individualized exercise plan developed specifically for you.
14. Test yourself regularly – Keep up with your hemoglobin A1C and blood glucose testing. Good testing results can encourage you to keep with an exercise program, even when it feels tedious.