Diabetes and the need for healthy physical activity

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November is American Diabetes Month! Physical activity is an important part of managing type 2 diabetes. If you or someone you know is pre-diabetic or has diabetes, it is important to stay active. 

If you have not been active, here are some important tips to get you on your way:

1. Talk to your healthcare provider. For almost everyone, starting a new active lifestyle is not a problem. However, if you have pre-diabetes or are diabetic, you may also have heart problems. It is important that you talk to your healthcare provider. The American Diabetic Assoc-iation suggests that you get your doctor’s OK before you start an exercise program.

2. Do something that you enjoy. If you are told that you need to start a walking program, but do not like to walk, how long to do you think you will stick with it? Probably not very long. If you are not sure what you like to do, talk to other people in your community and just give something new a try. You might find that you really enjoy a certain activity that you would have never tried otherwise. Take it one step further and find an activity that you like to do when you are inside and an activity that you like to do when you are outside.  That way you will always have something active to do no matter whether it is too hot or too cold.

3. Start Slowly. Even though it is recommended that you should be physically active 30 minutes a day, five days a week, if you have not been very active that may be hard to do.  Start slowly by just doing your activity for 10 minutes, three days a week. You can build up to five days a week and then start adding to the amount of time that you are spending doing that activity. Everyone progresses at their own rate, so take your time and add additional time slowly.

4. Find a partner or join a group. You may think that it is hard to stay active when you have to do it by yourself all the time. If possible find a friend to be active with or join a group. If there is not a local group that you can join — try out an online support group.

5. Find Ways to be Active All Day Long.  Think of ways that you can be active every day. Is there any way that you can add more steps? Can you park at the back of the parking lot when you go shopping? Can you take the stair instead of an elevator? Can you stretch or get up and move when there are commercials on TV?

It is important to add physical activity to your day. Not only will you feel better but it will help prevent diabetes if you are pre-diabetic or control your diabetes if you already have it.

Reference:  http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/fitness-management/be-active-but-how.html

Source:  Nicole Peritore, Program Coordinator for Get Moving Kentucky, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.