Having type 2 diabetes isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s often the start of a healthy new lifestyle. We say this, not to ignore the risks diabetics face according to the American Diabetes Association, but to give you the information and inspiration you need to stand up to this chronic disease. Your allies in this fight are medication, healthy diet, and especially exercise, which we’ll look at in more detail below.
A Lot of Gain From a Little Effort
Regular exercise plus modest weight loss can reduce the chances of long-term complications from diabetes by almost 60%, according to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Specific benefits of being active include:
- Lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Lower cholesterol and triglyceride
- More flexibility, strength, and stamina.
- Better health overall.
“Sounds great,” you might say. “But I have no idea how to start a fitness program.” That’s where we can help. Let’s begin by debunking some of the myths about exercise:
- “Exercise has to hurt to do any good.” The exact opposite is true. Pain is actually a sign that you’re overdoing it just a bit. A healthy routine may make you just a little sore, but over time you’ll come to love the “burn” you get from a workout.
- “Exercise requires fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships.” We can understand why a lot of people feel this way, given all the fitness-related infomercials that blanket the airwaves. In reality, though, exercise equipment need not cost a fortune. We’ll recommend some excellent options in just a bit.
- “Exercise will take up all my time.” Actually, you can enjoy life-changing benefits from moderate exercise performed 3-4 times a week for 30-45 minutes. With that in mind, let’s look at how to structure an effective workout.
The Big Three
A successful exercise program will focus on three areas. These are:
- Muscular strength. This is the ability to lift and carry more weight with less effort. The best kind of strength training enhances not only the ability to lift a large amount of weight but to do so repeated times without fail. This is known in fitness circles as muscular endurance.
- Cardiovascular resilience. This is the ability of your heart and lungs to sustain ongoing exertion without becoming exhausted. Runners and swimmers are well acquainted with this quality.
- Flexibility. This is the ability of your body to bend, stretch, and move without suffering strained muscles. Yoga practitioners excel at this type of fitness.
A sensible, balanced exercise program will improve each of these capacities. The goal is to achieve an all-around level of fitness that will serve as a foundation for vibrant health and an active life.
What About Equipment?
Exercise gear is a huge seller in today’s economy, not just for diabetics but for anyone who’s looking to get in shape. Your available choices are almost endless; however, certain products have proven their value again and again. They include:
- These offer the benefits of resistance training yet are easier to manage than barbells.
- Resistance bands. Why these may seem newfangled, they’re actually the modern version of the spring-loaded exercisers which were popular in the 60s and 70s. They’re lightweight and highly portable, making them the perfect solution for people who travel a lot.
- Pull-up bars. The pullup is a classic exercise that offers enormous bang for the buck. Doorframe pull-up bars have appeared on the market in recent years, combining affordability with ease of installation. Plus, they’re a great way to stretch your back without investing in an inversion table.
All three of these options are affordable and effective and you can even purchase them to use in your home gym.
When all’s said and done, the only person who can make your life better is you. So commit today to starting a regular exercise program. You have nothing to lose and a whole new life to gain.
About the Author
Ms. Pearson loves volunteering for Consumer Health Labs, which aims to help consumers make healthy choices.