Walking It Off

Overweight individuals may have special concerns about doing exercise routines, however.  In particular, being overweight may make you acutely aware of your larger body size and self-conscious during such activities or prevent you from wanting to participate at all.  If you fit this profile, it is especially important for you to find other activities that are enjoyable for you.  You may need to try out a few different ones until you can find the ones that you really like, but doing so will be well worth the extra effort.

For example, swimming or aquatic classes may be a viable alternative for you.  Extra fat stored under your skin acts to insulate and keep you warmer in the pool, which is an advantage in pools heated to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less, as heat losses through the skin in water are usually much greater than in air.  Also, the water serves to hide your body, which may decrease any inhibition that you may feel when your figure is more plainly visible during other activities.

Although almost everyone can exercise safely and effectively, engaging in even more total physical activity may offer additional benefits, but only up to a point.  The incidence of so-called “overuse injuries,” such as inflamed tendons (tendonitis) and stress fractures in bones, soars when more than 60 to 90 minutes of hard exercise is done daily.  In addition, diabetes bestows some risks on exercisers.  However, you can still exercise to your maximum potential – as long as you respect your limitations.  To stay safe and get the most out of your activities, follow the exercise guidelines published by the American Diabetes Association for safe participation, and remember to include proper warm-up and cool-down periods (at least five minutes of a similar aerobic activity done at a lesser intensity before and after an activity) to ease the cardiovascular transition and minimize risk for orthopedic injuries. 

Here are some other ideas to get you exercising more: The American Diabetes Association sponsors Club Ped, an online group  that you can join to keep track of your steps, your progress, and your step goals.  All you will need to get started is a pedometer.  In addition, a national campaign called “America on the Move”  advocates a minimum increase of 2,000 steps per day for everyone and offers a free online step tracker.

Numerous other pedometer-based walking programs are available and can be accessed online at websites such as: AccuSplit pedometer company and StepTracker.com. Inexpensive pedometers can also be purchased through sporting good stores or ordered online from various websites, including americaonthemove.org, accusplit.com, digiwalker.com, walk4life.com, steps-to-help.org, and pedometerusa.com

For more information on all of the mental benefits of physical activity, please consult my new book, The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan: Living Well and Being Fit with Diabetes, No Matter Your Weight.  Check my Web site (www.shericolberg.com) for more details or to order a copy today.

Read Sheri’s bio here.

Read more of Sheri Colberg-Och's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

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