Let’s Get Physical This Holiday Season

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Even if you did manage to stick to your diabetes management nutrition plan at the Thanksgiving table yesterday, that doesn’t mean that the constant bombardment of holiday food temptation is over. You still have over a month to go.

So, now’s a great time to revisit the physical activity plan you developed with your diabetes educator.  And, if you don’t have a physical activity plan, this would be a great time to come up with one. (Remember, we don’t call it exercise anymore because it is important to note that you don’t have to go to a gym to stay physically active, although that is a great option for many people.)

Here at Joslin Diabetes Center we recommend that you work with a certified diabetes educator or an exercise physiologist, but there’s a lot you can do on your own. We have a lot of tips and information on our web site:

Before you start any new physical activity, be sure to check first with your doctor to determine what kinds and how much activity is safe for you.

If your going to start a new plan this season or restart your existing plan (and your doctor says it’s okay),  begin by taking into account the importance of scheduling when building your physical activity plan. The holiday season can be a busy time but if you create a routine that you know will be sustainable through all of the shopping, parties and celebrations, your health will come out on top.

Your legs can be your best tool in getting into a regular physical activity routine. Walk and do it often. Invest in a pedometer to keep track of all the ground you’ve covered. Watching the numbers tick up as you walk will provide a sense of accomplishment to spur you on.

In a conducted study on walking, the study’s lead author, Dena Bravata, M.D., found that participants who wore pedometers increased their overall physical activity by 27%.  Read “Walk Your Way to Health” at http://www.joslin.org/info/Walk_Your_Way_to_Health.html

Whatever type of physical activity suits you best, make sure that for every 35 minutes of exercise you consume 15 grams of carbohydrate to avoid low blood glucose episodes. This means that it’s crucial to carry at least one snack with the appropriate carbohydrate content with you everywhere you go.

Photo Credit: Chaval Brasil

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