After one of New England’s longest, coldest, and snowiest winters, spring has finally bloomed! The winter season sometimes causes people to slip into a workout funk because gym routines can become boring and repetitive. But the brighter and warmer days are a great excuse to get out of the sweaty gym and enjoy some fresh air! May is National Fitness and Exercise Month so there’s no better time to get active outdoors than right now!
Exercise has many positive benefits for people with diabetes. It can lower blood glucose, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, mood and posture, strengthen your muscles and bones, reduce stress and anxiety, and make you sleep better. But before you get out there remember to track your blood glucose before, during, and after exercise. This will help you judge exactly how your body responds to different types of exercise and help you prevent potentially dangerous blood glucose fluctuations.
As the warmer weather rolls in you can ditch running on the treadmill and head back out into the open air. Many people prefer jogging outside because you have the freedom to choose various routes for a change of scenery. If you get tired of running the same courses through your neighborhood, find a nearby park or river to run along. One of the most popular running destinations in Boston is along the banks of the Charles River. The river loop has clean, paved trails with beautiful views of the city full of people running along to keep you motivated!
Jogging is a popular aerobic exercise with many health benefits for your mind and body. Research has shown that regular jogging can help prevent or reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity, and osteoporosis. It can also help fight depression, stress, and insomnia. Jogging will improve your cardiovascular endurance and overall muscle tone while strengthening your bones.
Another alternative outdoor exercise routine would be to dust away those cobwebs and hop on your bike for a cruise around town! Whether you’re riding as a mode of transportation or just for fun, there’s no better feeling than that cool breeze whisking across your face.
Cycling can help you lose weight, reduce stress, and most importantly improve your fitness. It’s a low-impact exercise that’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities-but it still helps you get into shape. It can help tone and strengthen your muscles, especially the lower half of your body including the calves, thighs, and buttocks. Instead of driving to work, ride your bike-it’ll benefit both your health and the environment!
Also, make an effort this spring to incorporate walking into your daily life. Consider walking your kids to school or to the bus stop in the morning. Walk to pick up groceries or run errands on your lunch break. Take an evening walk after dinner with your family through the neighborhood. Or take your dog for a walk through a nearby park to enjoy the freshly blossomed flowers and trees.
Walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise to build your cardiovascular endurance with less of a demand and stress on your joints than other high-impact aerobic exercises. It can offer the same benefits of jogging when done for a long duration and at a moderate intensity. Choose to walk up hills to add intensity to your walking routine. Walking uphill builds more muscles in your lower body because there is greater resistance. You can also increase the speed of your walk or add on an extra mile to make it more challenging.
Some people may have difficulty walking due to joint or muscle problems, others may have foot problem such as neuropathy, Charcot foot or foot ulcers. Speak with you doctor before starting any exercise program and find out the best exercise for you.
For any of these outdoor physical activities consider inviting friends. It’s more fun exercising in a group and it will keep you driven to reach your spring fitness goals!
Celebrate with us on our blog, facebook.com/joslindiabetes, and @JoslinDiabetes on Twitter! And Joslin is pleased to announce that we’re now on Pinterest and Instagram! So follow us all month long for tips on incorporating exercise into your life.