Make Exercise a Regular Routine
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor has probably advised you to start an exercise program. This can be intimidating if you’ve never exercised before. It can also be a little overwhelming if it’s been a long time since you exercised. But don’t panic. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. The better news is, there are lots of options. And the best news is that it’s good for your heart, good for your blood pressure, good for your cholesterol levels, and good for your blood sugar too.
Planning your exercise routine
Planning your routine is simple. Choose the time of day that will work the best for you. Decide what type of exercise will suit you best. Pick the amount of time you’re going to spend on it. Then do it! It’s that simple.
You may want to try out different forms of exercise and see which one suits you best. It doesn’t matter how wonderful a fitness routine is if you don’t actually do it. You may also need to experiment to find the perfect time of day. You also need to decide how much time you’re going to spend on exercise. Would you rather do one half-hour session or three ten-minute sessions?
Once you find that sweet spot, be consistent. Try to exercise around the same time each day. Some people with diabetes may find that exercise makes their blood sugar drop dramatically. If this is a problem, having a regular routine can help you plan and be prepared for changes in your blood sugar level.
Types of exercise
There are two main types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and your lungs working. Exercises like walking, biking, and swimming are aerobic exercise. Weight training, on the other hand, is anaerobic exercise. Your body benefits from both. Experts recommend that you never go more than two days in a row without some kind of aerobic exercise. Some of the best forms of exercise for people with diabetes are walking, dancing, and swimming. Yoga and Tai Chi are also good.
What’s the best time of day to exercise?
The best time to exercise is the time when you’ll actually do it. If you’re a morning person, then a walk before or after breakfast may be the best option. If you’re not awake till after your morning coffee, then afternoon may be a better choice. Evenings are okay too, as long as you do your exercising well before bedtime. Exercise within three or fewer hours of bedtime may make it difficult to sleep, and poor sleep has a negative effect on your blood sugar.
Simple ways to get more exercise
There are many ways to work exercise into your day. Walking where you need to go rather than driving or taking the bus is one of the simplest. If you drive to a store, think about parking farther away instead of grabbing the closest parking spot. Riding a bike rather than driving is another option. Small changes like taking the stairs rather than the elevator also add up. Even household chores can become exercise.
Even a small amount of exercise can have a big effect on your health. Talk with your diabetes care team about which types of exercise are right for you. Your care team can help you decide on what kind of exercise you should try and how often you should do it.