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June 5th marks National Health and Fitness Day in Canada. This day was started during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics to create a legacy of improved health for all Canadians and to help make Canada the fittest nation in the world.

Being physically active is an important part of taking care of your diabetes. Not only can being active help lower your blood sugar levels, it can also help you manage your weight, increase circulation, strengthen your heart and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce stress and improve mental health.

How much physical activity is recommended for people with diabetes?

  • 150 minutes of aerobic (walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, etc.) exercise per week

  • resistance exercise (strength exercise for  your muscles) 2-3 times per week

  • breaking up periods of sitting every half hour

Finding it difficult to start or stay active? There are many reasons why we may not reach the recommendations mentioned above. Here are some common thoughts about exercise and some ways to reframe your thinking.

Exercise is too difficult

 

If you are new to physical activity start slow and small. Don’t try to push beyond your limits. You will improve over time. Start with just 5-10 minutes and gradually increase. Keep track of your progress in a fitness app or notepad for motivation.

It takes too long to see results

This may be true for some things like building muscles; however you will also see some results right away. Try checking your blood sugars before and after to see the change!

I don’t like exercise

Many people feel like they should be going to the gym but do not feel comfortable in this environment. Don’t feel pressured to do what others do. Try finding an activity you do like, such as cranking up the music and dancing around your home!

Exercise is expensive

There are activities you can do for free such as walking, or home workouts. There are many videos online (ex. YouTube) to follow at no cost.

Check out this resistance band video from Diabetes Canada:  Click Here

I have no time

We can get the benefits from exercise in just 10 minutes. Try fitting in small bouts of exercise during the day, such as over lunch. All of these 10 minutes add up to the goal of 150 minutes per week.

I’m scared to have a low blood sugar

Speak to your doctor or diabetes educator to work out a plan to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugars). This may include having an extra snack and/or lowering your insulin doses.

Good luck, be safe and have fun!

 

Further reading and references:

CDC

 

Diabetes.ca

 

LMC.ca