Boyd Epley, the legendary strength coach for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers’ football team, made famous the statement, “Combine running, stretching, and lifting if you dare to be great.” That may be true for college football players, but what about the rest of us?
The most complete exercise programs indeed combine aerobic, weight-bearing, and stretching components. Each of these have their own unique benefits for our health:
Aerobic exercises (e.g., walking, jogging, cycling) improve endurance and lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose.
Weight-bearing exercises improve strength and balance while decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
Stretching exercises increase flexibility and prevent movement-related injury while improving mood and decreasing stress.
As a pharmacist, I wish I could put exercise in a bottle and sell it! I’d have a single drug that would prevent or help to manage diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, and many other common ailments. But no one would buy it. Why? Because exercise is FREE.
The American Diabetes Association offers these guidelines for staying physically active:
Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day, at least 5 days per week;
Have no more than 2 consecutive days without some form of exercise;
Break up periods of prolonged sitting at least once every 30 minutes, especially if you have type 2 diabetes;
Perform weight-bearing exercise at least two times per week on non-consecutive days; and
Older adults should perform flexibility and balance training 2-3 times per week. Yoga and tai chi are recommended.
The type(s) of exercise you perform is a matter of personal preference. If you don’t currently exercise, start somewhere. Something is always better than nothing! Ask your doctor if you have any physical limitations to exercise. Then, find an activity you enjoy and start with 15 minutes every day. Extend your exercise sessions as you build up endurance.
The first 20 minutes of most workouts burns glucose that is already in your bloodstream and in large muscle tissues. After 20 minutes, your body starts burning fat reserves. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, going for longer than 20 minutes will help you reach your goal.
Find a reliable exercise partner. New habits are hard to form, and exercise habits may be the most difficult because they involve effort. Having a partner makes the hard work seem easier, the long workouts seem shorter, and the entire experience more enjoyable. Holding each other accountable will help you both succeed!
If you have diabetes, exercise will help lower your blood glucose values overall. If you use insulin, check your blood glucose before, during, and after exercise to be sure you don’t go too low. If you have pre-diabetes, exercise will make your body’s cells more sensitive to insulin, improve your blood glucose levels, and help you lost weight, reducing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
For more information on the benefits of exercise in managing and preventing diabetes, visit: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/?loc=ff-slabnav.
Have questions about how to successfully manage your diabetes? Schedule a 15 min call with Kent, our diabetes educator and pharmacist. He can help you learn how to celebrate the holidays safely with diabetes!
6856 Cobblestone Blvd | Southaven, MS, 38672
P: 888.416.0008 | F: 888.416.0009
220 W. Tennessee St, Suite 101 | Florence, AL, 35630
P: 256.203.5058 | F: 888.416.0009