Fitness for Type 2 Diabetes
Reversing type 2 diabetes is entirely possible with a commitment to a regular exercise and diet regimen. Having a fitness plan goes part and parcel with losing the weight needed for the majority of people with diabetes, which means incorporating cardiovascular and strength training exercise into it. Most of all though, changes need to be made to your diet. This is easier said than done for some that live with this potentially debilitating condition. Making changes to your lifestyle takes practice and for some these need to be incremental changes. The hope is that these small steps will eventually change their perception that leading a healthy lifestyle is deeply meaningful and exciting rather than it being a difficult chore. The first step is to take aim at something – to realize that a life change needs to happen.
I suggest starting with an ultimate goal as to how you’d like to feel. Set the bar high but be realistic. Then, once you’ve decided on your goal, outline the steps you need to take to get there. Actually, sit down and write out a plan. Being organized will be key to limiting your bad habits. The following are some key points you need to consider in reaching your ultimate goal.
Exercise and Diet Modifications
Enough studies on diabetes have been done to show that lifestyle interventions can greatly improve insulin sensitivity and to help lower abnormally high blood sugar levels. Excessive weight has also been concretely linked with the onset of type 2 diabetes. One study called the Diabetes Prevention Program showed that 150 minutes of exercise each week decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
First, you’ll want to talk to your doctor as to the safety of any program you’re about to introduce.
I’ve been doing this long enough to know that people who stay committed to a new health regimen are the ones who make it a gradual process. If you go at it with guns blazing, you’ll burn out and get frustrated by a lack of immediate results. Begin with something you enjoy doing that’s active. It can be absolutely anything that gets your moving. Going for a walk, using a Nintendo Wii, playing a sport (yes ping-pong counts), or even if you enjoy doing little things around the house. Each step in your day counts. Perhaps, that’s the most important mindset to have – that every little bit counts. Keep note of what you’re doing by writing it down in a journal.
- Get in those extra steps. Instead of taking elevators, take the stairs. Walk instead of drive and if you do drive then park further from your destination.
- Take a mindset to limit the damage of your habits rather than eliminating them altogether. For instance, if you drink 10 cans of your favorite cola per day, try moving down to 8 or watering them down a bit. Try slowly weaning off of it rather than going cold turkey.
- Get a fitness partner that can help motivate and support you to stick to a routine.
- Instead of thinking you have to get in your 20-minute walk all in one sitting, try splitting it up if it’s not possible.
- Take a quick “washroom break” every hour at work if you’re sitting a lot throughout the day. Find an excuse to stretch your legs whenever possible.
- Use an app. Several fitness apps can help you track your steps. You can make a fun game of it – try besting your steps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
It’s a paradox that people often feel less fatigued after moving around than they do sitting on a couch for long periods of time. Maintaining an active lifestyle greatly improves your energy and it has a snowball effect. The more energy you have, the more productive you’ll be and the easier will be to make small modifications in your lifestyle. That snowball rolls downhill rather fast – the most important thing is getting it rolling to start with, not in achieving big results. “Go big or go home” is not the proper mindset, at least not at this point in your new workout program.
The Benefits of Weight Training VS Cardio
Studies such as this one show that both types of exercise can significantly affect someone’s control over their glycemic management. They also show that including both forms is significantly more effective than doing one over the other.
Weight training might be considerably more beneficial for those who are looking for long-term weight loss. Increasing muscle mass greatly increases your metabolism and will help you keep the weight off, whereas, cardio training doesn’t have such an effect. Only doing cardio is the reason why you’ll likely yo-yo up and down in weight if you only focus on it instead of strength training.
You can also try incorporating both cardio and strength training into each workout. Do 10 minutes of each and gradually increase the length.
One thing that some people find very helpful is to get a personal trainer that specializes in type 2 diabetes. This can be at a gym or having an in-home personal trainer come to your home or condo if you’re lacking in motivation. Get in touch with the Busy Bee Fitness Experts, diabetes personal trainer Toronto with any questions you may have on our personal training programs.