Rarely does a day pass when I’m not amazed and inspired by those in the DOC and your commitment to being active, in your communities and in your lives. I’ve heard members helping to organize Step Out walking events for the American Diabetes Association and the JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes in their communities. And I’ve met others who hike, bike, run, swim, climb, and pretty much pursue every other athletic challenge a person can imagine. But sports and intense physical activity aren’t for everyone. One person even joked that he’d rather go to the dentist than go to the gym – no offense to dentists intended. I’d say the majority fall somewhere in the middle – where you understand the importance of staying active for better blood sugars, but struggle to consistently work it into your busy lives. So how might you get more motivated to move?
What counts as “activity” may surprise you
In a previous post, we talked about the three different types of activity and shared examples that come to mind when you think of physical activity. Keep in mind, though, that there are many atypical ways to work activity into your day, either at home or at the office. A few ideas to consider from NIDDK, dLife, Livestrong and EveryDay Health:
- Keep a small hand weight – or even a bottle of water – at your desk and lift it over your head for a set number of repetitions while talking on the phone
- Avoid the elevator, try to take the stairs as often as possible
- Walk over to talk to a coworker or neighbor instead of emailing, instant messaging, or calling him or her
- Trade out your normal desk chair for an exercise ball, the required balance will strengthen your core
- Park your car in spots farther away from your building, forcing you to walk a little further each day
- Wear small ankle weights under wider-legged pants to build muscle during normal activities like walking and stairs
- Pack a healthy lunch and leave some time to take a short midday walk with a coworker
- When grocery shopping, walk down every aisle to add extra distance – but avoid the urge to buy less-than-healthy foods along your path
- Yard work and gardening can be a good workout while improving your home’s curb appeal
- Many household chores require movements that can raise your heart rate – things like washing windows and mopping
- Wear small ankle and wrist weights to help build muscle while completing small activities around the house like doing laundry and vacuuming
If you’re not already physically active, it’s critical that you talk to your doctor about activities that could be helpful and, just as important, harmful for you. You may need to monitor your blood sugar levels more closely, depending on your medications and the types of activities in which you participate. It’s always better to discuss these issues with your doctor first to avoid potentially serious situations later.
The Mayo Clinic website offers helpful information about blood sugar monitoring related to physical activity and you can find more tips for incorporating activity into your day at the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Do you have an activity tip that may help others living with diabetes? If so, please share it by posting a comment below or by posting on our Facebook page.
Best, Laura K.