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Family Fitness Activities

Getting the whole family out and moving

Fitness for families in life with diabetes

With the weather warming up and the days getting longer, it’s a good time to get the family outdoors for some fun and all-ages fitness activities. From tending a backyard garden together, flying kites in the local park or participating in the annual JDRF One® Walk as a family, there are many options for getting outdoors and being active as a family. (Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team before making any changes to your routine.) 

Getting started exercising as a family

Gary Scheiner, a Certified Diabetes Educator® who lives with type 1 diabetes, grew up with a father who instilled the excitement of physical activity in his kids. Today, Gary is a father of four and says that it can be a challenge for him to carve out time for a workout and still find a way to spend enough quality time with his wife and kids – so he often combines the two. Some of his favorite family activities include a game of driveway basketball and touring the neighborhood together on bikes – and a bike trailer for those too little to ride. (Read more of Gary’s ideas for fit family fun.)

Shameka Henderson’s exercise partner

When Shameka Henderson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she made healthful eating and regular exercise priorities. To stay motivated, she enlisted her son, James, as her exercise partner. “I went out and bought an exercise trampoline. We take turns jumping. When it’s nice out I’ll walk and he’ll ride his bike. He loves it. He’s all boy so he likes anything running, jumping, rolling – he’s all for it.” (Read more about what inspires Shameka to be a healthy role model for her son.)

William Gould runs the distance with his son

When William Gould was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he decided to live more healthfully by training and participating in marathons and other running events. “My entire family has been extremely supportive,” William says. His teenage son runs 5Ks and 10Ks and trains with him, and the two participated in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes®.

When asked for tips he might share with others who want to get moving, William advises, “I tell anybody who’s going to start, just start slow. … Make the little behaviors habits and then progressively build on them to lead a healthier lifestyle.” (Read more of William’s tips.)

Walking tips from the diabetes community

Family walk in life with diabetes

Taking a regular stroll around the neighborhood may be a good way for you and a family member or two to burn a few calories. Vanessa Nemeth, who lives with type 2 diabetes, says that having a walking partner – including the family pet – can help keep you going. Erik Bendl, whose mother lived with T2, suggests signing up for a charity walk, such as the JDRF One® Walk or Kids Walk; having a cause walk to train for can keep you motivated and moving. (Read more walking tips from the diabetes community.) 

Water Workouts

Family Swimming Diabetes

Many kids love splashing around in the water, and water exercise can be good workout for adults as well – simply standing chest-deep in a pool can be enough to strengthen your respiratory muscles. Keeping a piece of candy or a small juice box right at the edge of the pool so it’s within arm’s reach may help manage blood sugar lows. (Get more ideas and tips for working out in the water.) 

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Shameka Henderson, William Gould, Vanessa Nemeth and Erik Bendl received no compensation for their interviews on Discuss Diabetes. Gary Scheiner MS, CDE* is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.

One Walk is a registered service mark of JDRF International.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is a registered service mark of the American Diabetes Association, Inc.

© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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