Manage Diabetes With Sports and Hobbies | Reader's Digest

Manage Diabetes With Sports and Hobbies

Focus on the activities you love and make fitness fun!

  from 759 Secrets for Beating Diabetes

You don’t have to be one of those 10-mile-a-day runners or a Tour de France cyclist to be an active person. Focus on sports and hobbies you love.

If you find an activity you enjoy and can do often, you’ll find yourself in better shape — and maybe even happier — in no time. And it won’t even seem like effort!

     

  • 1.

    Don't fret about aerobic versus strength training.

    Experts conclude that aerobic activity (walking and cycling, for instance) and strength training (lifting weights and doing strength exercises) are almost equally beneficial for controlling blood sugar, so pick whichever most appeals to you. Aerobic activity causes your muscles to burn energy and then draw glucose out of the blood to replace that energy, thus lowering your blood sugar. Strength training gives your body a larger mass of muscle, so there are more cells drawing glucose out of your bloodstream at any one time — another path to lower blood sugar.

  • 2.

    Sign up for something fun.

    You might be turned off by the prospect of huffing your way around a running track or grunting your way through a series of weight machines at the gym, so appeal instead to the human desire for fun. Try a swimming-pool aerobics class that plays oldies music, sign up for tango lessons and dress the part, join a hiking club to become one with nature, or volunteer to give walking tours at an arboretum.

  • 3.

    Invest in professional lessons, classes, or retreats.

    You may do a double take when you find out the price of a three-day yoga retreat, but if you’re going to splurge on something, your health should be at the top of the list. When you pay an expert to show you how to use weight machines properly, to ride a horse, or belly dance, you’ll master the skill faster and enjoy your pursuit more. And a lesson is a small price to pay to keep from injuring yourself.

  • 4.

    Try yoga or tai chi class.

    You don’t have to work up a sweat to get a benefit — or three — from exercise. Both yoga and tai chi increase your flexibility and balance. The slow, sure movements and gentle stretching not only benefit your muscles and joints but also your mental health — their stress-relief benefits are proven. Since being stressed can raise your blood pressure and drive your blood sugar down, or more often, up, those 45 minutes in class can do you more good than you realize.