The True Weight of Exercise
We all know we should exercise more. Everyone notices the energy they receive from even climbing a small set of stairs. So why don’t we do it more often? Health experts often cite the following statistics: only 30% of the entire United States’ population gets the recommended amount of exercise on any given day. An incredible 25% are not active at all, even in minor ways. It is this statistic that is regarded as the primary reason for the growing Diabetes epidemic in North America. Mounting medical evidence indicates that inactivity and obesity are the primary causes of insulin resistance, the body’s resistance to its own insulin which causes an over-production of the hormone, ultimately leading to Diabetes.
The good news is that it is never too late to begin exercising. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can possibly begin to reverse the damage caused. The other good news is that exercise is the best way to manage both pre-Diabetes and early onset Diabetes. For Type 2 Diabetes sufferers, exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, lower the risk of heart disease, and even help with weight loss.
How to Get Started
If you are already Diabetic or suspect yourself to have pre-Diabetes, you should consult your physician before starting any kind of diet or exercise program. Your doctor will have to explain your potential limits and how to manage your blood sugar properly. He or she will also inform you of warning signs to watch for so you don’t over-exercise and endanger your health further. A visit to your doctor can also help to identify any cardiac risk factors that you may have should you be overweight to such a degree where strenuous exercise can actually do harm.
There are also certain complications of Diabetes that will affect the type of exercise program that you will be able to use. High-stress activities such as weightlifting, running, or aerobics can be risky for anyone suffering from diabetic retinopathy mainly because these activities can inflict further damage to blood vessels and possibly result in retinal detachment. If you are already participating in activities such as these on a regular basis, it may still be a good idea to consult your doctor regarding the safety of these activities. If you are taking insulin then special precautions may need to be taken in order to prevent hypoglycemia.
A simple exercise routine can begin simply by taking regular walks. A brisk walk around the neighborhood or on your lunch break can be a great way to get your cardiovascular ready for more high-intensity exercise in the future. Especially if you are overweight or even obese, your daily exercise should not be strenuous to begin with. It is best to “remind” your body what it is like to be exercised regularly through light exercise rather than attempt to run a 4-minute mile during your first week. By beginning slowly you’ll be much more likely to form good habits for working exercise into your daily routine as well. Listen to your body and when you’re ready for something a little more intense or challenging, you’ll know it.
Light exercise can be as simple as:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park at the far end of the parking lot
- Take the dog for a daily walk (he or she will appreciate it!)
- Use the shopping mall as your walking track and get some shopping done while you’re there!
Every little bit counts especially when exercise is done regularly. The good feelings accumulate and before you know it you’re feeling better, looking better, and your diabetes or pre-diabetes seems to have disappeared. As little as 15 or 30 minutes per day is enough to get started.
Many people think that if they’re not “pumping iron” or running a 4-minute mile that they’re not exercising. This is not only untrue but it is unrealistic for the majority of people out there. Any exercise that elevates your heart rate above your resting rate is burning energy and making you healthier.
While investing in expensive gym memberships or home equipment certainly isn’t necessary, we do recommend you invest in a comfortable pair of running shoes and clothing suitable for exercise. If you’re comfortable while you exercise you’ll be much more likely to want to keep doing it which is paramount in forming good lifestyle habits for making exercise a part of your daily routine. Start slow and exercise your way to good health and a great future.