How to Get Started on a Diabetes Physical Activity Program

One of the worst things you can do to yourself and your dia­betes is to transform yourself from a couch potato into an exercise nut overnight. Most Type II diabetics probably wouldn’t do that because they wouldn’t be overweight in the first place if they weren’t such sluggards (and research has shown that they might not have gotten diabetes if they had been exercising regularly all their lives). But some people demonstrate a rather turbulent reac­tion to the diagnosis. They want to turn over a new leaf, jump onto the healthy living bandwagon, forswear all sugar and fat, and immediately join a health club.

This new lifestyle usually lasts a very short time because it is too dramatic a change and is difficult to sustain. Try not to do this. It’s exhausting and hard on your body and soul. Rather, ease into an increase of physical activity. First, get a physical examination and make sure that you are well enough to become physically fit. If you have had diabetes for more than twenty years, a physical examination is crucial because some exercise may be detrimental. For example, some forms of diabetic eye disease can worsen as a result of constant impact, and if you have heart disease, there are certain exercises you should avoid.

Diabetes Physical Activity

Next, make certain your diabetes is in reasonable control. If your blood glucose fluctuates wildly or if you have a tendency toward ketoacidosis (a buildup of ketones in the blood), get those problems solved before you begin to exercise. Also, think of ways you can incorporate increased activity into your lifestyle without calling it exercise, for example, park in a far corner of the supermarket lot (walking to and from and around the store could add up to a whole mile), get off the bus a few stops early and walk to your destination, climb two or three flights of stairs instead of using the elevator, clean your own house instead of having someone else do it, put the TV remote control in a drawer and haul yourself out of the easy chair to change channels, walk to the grocery store, and buy less food and shop more often.

Change the way you do certain things in order to increase physical activity, for example, stop driving everywhere and start using your legs or bicycle, don’t sit for more than an hour at a time, go to other people’s offices instead of asking them to come to yours (it’ll make them feel more important, especially if you’re their boss). Make exercise part of your daily routine. If you think of it as something you just do every day, like shaving, brushing your teeth, or taking time to read the daily paper, you won’t have to think about it, and you’ll be less likely to moan and groan be­fore gearing yourself up to do it.

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.

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