As we left the coffee club last week Uncle Bud told us our discussion this week would be about things we need to know and do before starting a program of physical activity. We all know what he means by a discussion. So after greeting each other we settle down with our second cups of coffee and begin to listen.
Uncle Bud has really done his homework this week. He has a handout for us. The teacher in him realizes some of us will remember things better if we see them in writing. He has made sure to leave room for notes. Tom can’t resist teasing him about being in the coffee club not the classroom. He has listed the following:
Talk with your healthcare team
Find an exercise buddy
Decide how you’ll track your physical activity
Decide how you’ll reward yourself
After giving us a few minutes to view be begins by telling us that while information he is giving us today is geared toward those with diabetes everyone needs to be physically active. Your team may include a doctor, nurse, dietitian, diabetes educator, and others. Let the team help you set your goals and tell you a target range for your blood glucose levels. Talk to them about what type of physical activity is best for you. Keep in mind that certain activities may be unsafe for people with low vision or those who have nerve damage in their feet.
What do I mean by plan ahead? Good question. Decide what type of activity you want to do and plan the days and times you will do them. Plan the length of time you can spend on each session. Be sure to plan time for warming up, stretching, and cooling down. If walking is on your list have a backup plan for an inside walk in case of bad weather. Have a plan to measure your progress.
Most people do better and stick to a program if they find an exercise buddy. If you think this would help you stick to your program them ask a friend or family member to be your exercise buddy. Uncle Bud laughs a little here and tells us to be sure to get a buddy that will help us and not one that will tempt us to skip days to do other things. Guess he knows us better than we realized.
Keeping track of your physical activity can be as simple or complex as you choose. He explains that it is important to pick a tracking method that will reflect your blood glucose levels, when you are active, how long you are physically active, and what food your eat each day. You will be more likely to stick with your program if you are able to see your progress. A good tracking device will allow you to see how physical affects your blood glucose, weight, and how healthy you are eating.
Last but not least, decide how you will reward yourself once in a while.