Get Moving: 8 Ways to Get Fit
Exercise is a vital part of diabetes control, helping you regulate glucose levels, maintain a healthy weight, and improve blood circulation. Looking for a new way to get in shape? Try one of these activities.
The Benefits: Walking is one of the best ways to get a daily dose of fitness. It can relieve everyday stress and trim those extra pounds that put us all at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and other health problems.
What to Expect: Begin your walking program by buying an inexpensive pedometer that will track the number of steps you ordinarily take in a day. Log your steps in a notebook for a week to figure how many steps you're already doing. During that week, look for simple ways to increase the number of steps.
If you're a sedentary person, you may only average 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day from normal activity. The goal is to eventually get to 10,000 steps or more daily.
Planning to take a certain number of steps every day is a very simple way to set and measure your level of activity. Head out for a daily walk and add 500 steps a day for one week, 500 more each day the next week, and so on for a gradual increase.
To start, map out some walking routes in your neighborhood. Then branch out to explore local parks or walking trails. When the weather's bad, head for the mall. Many open their doors early for walkers, and some even offer refreshments. You may find you prefer the safety, predictability, and camaraderie of indoor walking, regardless of the weather.
Precautions: Invest in a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Visit a sports store that specializes in fitting walkers and runners with the appropriate shoes for their feet and gait. Generally, your shoes should be lightweight, cool, and flexible so your feet feel comfortable and can bend easily. Make sure the heels are well cushioned and that there's plenty of room for your toes.
You may want to eat a snack before you head out. Also, bring glucose tablets or gel, in case you feel fatigued on your walk. Carry water and drink at least every 20 minutes. A snack after your walk may help also, especially if your blood glucose is low. Overall, you should not need to increase your daily caloric intake to account for the energy you need for walking, especially if your goal is to lose weight.
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