Get Moving & Keep Moving
A beginner's guide to beginning
Did you know that physical activity plays an important role in managing your blood sugar? You probably do. And, if you're like most people, you also know the biggest challenge with starting a new physical activity program is taking the first step. It may help to start by choosing something you enjoy. That can make it easier to get started and stick with it. Remember, talk to your healthcare provider before you begin or increase any physical activity program.
Track your exercise
While you're tracking your blood sugar, be sure to make note of how much exercise you did that day. That way, you can see the connection between them.
- Start small.
Take a five-minute walk during lunch, on your coffee break, after dinner, when you’re out running errands, or while waiting for your kids’ practice to be over. If you’re not used to lots of movement, a quick walk, taken often, can make a difference.
- Become an active television watcher.
Walk in place while you watch your favorite TV show. You can sit during the commercials, but keep moving while the action unfolds. Start with a half-hour show. Even if you can only manage to walk for part of the episode, it’s worth it. Over time, you’ll be able to do more.
- Try the stairs.
Walk past the elevator and the escalator. If you work or live several stories up, go ahead and use the elevator, but get off several floors before your destination and walk up. Again, check with your healthcare provider before you step up your exercise.
- Park and walk.
You'll save gas and burn more calories by snagging the often-empty spots at the back of the lot.
- Chat on the go.
When you're on the phone, don’t sit down! Talk and walk.
- Find a time that suits you.
Not a morning person? Get in your workout after work. Wake up feeling energized? Start your day with a brisk walk.
- Make a schedule and stick with it.
Write your exercise plan on your calendar and make time for it in your day.
- Mix it up.
It's likely to become boring over time if you do the same physical activity every day. So ride a bike one day, swim the next, and so on.
- Set goals.
Make sure your goals are realistic but not too easy. Reaching a goal not only gives you a real sense of accomplishment, it also encourages you to set another one!
- Reward yourself.
When you reach a goal, reward yourself to stay motivated. For example, if you meet your monthly goal, buy new workout gear or go to a movie. Show yourself how rewarding exercise can be!
- Don’t overdo it.
Use the talk test. For moderate exercise, you should be able to talk, but not sing, while exercising. For advanced exercise, you shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
- Recognize your limitations.
If you have mobility or joint issues, exercising in a pool may be a better option than on land.
- Stop immediately if you don't feel well or experience pain.
Forget no pain, no gain. Stop if you feel faint or are hurting.
- Make sure you drink enough fluids.
Consider sticking to plain or fruit- or vegetable-infused water. Watch out for sports drinks that may have a lot of carbs.
- Carry glucose tablets or gel with you.
They're often available at local drug stores and help in case your blood sugar drops too low.