Do activities you like, or at least the ones you hate the least, while getting the most benefit from them. The best type of exercise for a diabetic is one that uses large amounts of energy over a relatively long period of time, what was described as moderate activity of intermediate duration: tennis, swimming, jogging, leisurely bicycling, gardening, golfing, or vacuuming for one hour. (Okay, so you may not like vacuuming, but you have to do it anyway so you might as well count it as exercise—because it is.)
Other excellent activities include dancing, rowing, fencing, handball, racquetball, digging in the garden, and lawn mowing with a hand mower (if you have a huge yard, trade in your riding mower for a power machine that you walk behind). If you like to engage in exercise with other people, try volleyball, ice or field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, or basketball. Stop-and-go activities such as bowling, golfing with a cart, baseball, and some kinds of calisthenics use only short bursts of energy and are thus less appropriate (although certainly not harmful) for diabetics.
It is best to get some physical activity every day, but if you can’t, every other day or four or five times a week is fine. What you should not do is stop and start an exercise program, that is, get out there every day for a month or so and then slack off for a month. Physical activity should be a consistent part of your life.
You also need to think about when you exercise. Naturally, you can’t interrupt an important business meeting, no matter how bored you are, to say, “Sorry folks, I’m going swimming at the ‘Y’ now.” But you can incorporate an exercise program into your schedule so it provides the most benefit. For example, the optimum time for physical activity is about an hour after meals when your blood sugar is at its highest. This is easy to accomplish on weekends, but during the week, you have to make a conscious effort. Try eating lunch while you are working and then using your allotted lunch time to take a walk or go to the gym or swimming pool. You probably won’t be the only one in your office who does this.
More and more people work at home, which gives much more flexibility about when they exercise. I’m a writer and often work on deadline so self-discipline in my work is important. Therefore, I get up, go into my office, finish the work I have to do for that day, and “treat” myself to a three-mile walk in my neighborhood.
Filed Under: Health & Personal Care
About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.