Two people walking with bicycles

Fitness: An “F” Word with Benefits

So, did you do it? Did you begin your exercise routine? Now how do you feel? Are you invigorated, motivated, excited to try new forms of exercise? That’s awesome, because no matter how much or how little you moved you are ahead of the person sitting on the couch. Now let’s talk about ways to keep moving and yes, add a little more to what you are already doing.

Why do I need to add on more activity, you ask? Wait for it... 

If you are like me you may be feeling a little shell shocked since reading the latest recommendations are to increase physical activity to 5 hours a week.

So let’s dig a little deeper into fitness. Here are some things to consider as you continue on and try to increase your activity level.

Warm up and Cool down

As you continue or begin your fitness program, be sure that you spend time warming up those muscles and cooling down after vigorous activity. Failing to do either of these could lead to an injury that may set you back days or even weeks. I know, some of us are the famous weekend warriors-but remember we always want to stay healthy enough to “fight/exercise” another day. So take that 5- 10 minutes before and after your workout to stretch out those muscles and regulate that heart rate.

Try to Maintain Your Target Heart Rate

Be sure you are working out at the proper level of energy expenditure for your age by trying to achieve and maintain your target heart rate during exercise. According to the American Heart Association, your maximum heart rate is approximately 220 minus your age and your target heart rate is about 50-85% of your maximum heart rate depending on the intensity of your exercise. Thus a 50 year old would have a target heart rate of about 170bpm, and a target heart rate of 85-145bpm.

Appropriate Fuel

One other thing to think about is fueling your exercise. As a person with diabetes you need to be sure that you have the appropriate amount of fuel (blood glucose) to sustain you during your chosen activity. Keep in mind that for most people 30 minutes of exercise will decrease a BG 30 mg/dL. So if you are planning for that 60 minute goal 5 times a week be sure that you are starting with a BG level that is appropriate for the duration and intensity of the exercise.

Ok, with those things in mind let’s ramp it up! Need some suggestions to help make and reach that next level? Try one of these:

  • A game of tennis

  • Country line dancing

  • A vigorous bike ride with friends

  • Training for a ½ marathon—why not!

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