Fitness for Seniors with Diabetes (Continued)

Before You Get Started

With regard to strength training and before starting a workout, the following tips are important to keep in mind:

  • Avoid locking the joints of your arms and legs when you reach the top of a particular movement. Try instead to stop just inches before reaching this locked-out point.
  • Inhale as you lower the weight and exhale as you raise it. Do not hold your breath, as it can affect your blood pressure and cause you to feel lightheaded.
  • Do not swing, jerk, or twist your body to bring weights into position. If such motions are necessary, you are likely using too much weight.
  • Though muscle soreness that lasts a few days after a weight workout is normal, exhaustion, muscle pulls, and sore joints are not.
  • Use weights that you can comfortably lift for at least eight repetitions, but no more than fifteen. If you do not have access to hand weights, unopened soup cans can be used in their place. If, however, you are not able to lift the cans, start first with only the movement of your body, adding the cans over time as your muscles become stronger.

And as far as cardio conditioning goes:

  • If you're new to cardiovascular exercise, or if you've been inactive for a long time, start off by going easy on yourself, increasing tempo, distance, and time as you gradually build your stamina over the passing weeks and months.
  • A slight shortness of breath is normal during cardio training, but laboring to catch you breath is not. You should be able to able to carry on a conversation while your exercise.
  • Be sure to wear proper footwear to avoid blisters or injury if you are walking, jogging, or hiking.
  • If exercising outdoors, always have access to emergency medical service via a cell phone or other means of communication.
  • Regularly check your blood sugar during exercise to help avoid unexpected hypoglycemic episodes.
  • Drink water before, during, and after your cardiovascular workout to reduce risk of dehydration.

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Last Modified Date: July 01, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
There are two reasons it took me as long as it did to "come out" publicly with diabetes (and hypertension). One was denial: in my mind, I was too young to have type 2 diabetes — a condition I only knew in people over the age of 55 — and the other was fear of public shaming. Turn back the clock several years before my own diagnosis. Our workplace was a bit more stratified, with two editors above me. The elder of the two was somewhat overweight and, like many...
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