How To Develop A Personal Physical Activity Plan

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Exercise | 0 comments

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, all adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity-or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity-exercise per week to improve our health and prevent disease. What exactly is “moderate” or “vigorous” activity? Jumping jacks, a casual stroll, or sit-ups? Let’s look what exercises fall into these categories, and then I’ll tell you exactly how to fit diabetes into your exercise plan.

  • Moderate exercise is when you are exercising hard enough that you just break a sweat and raise your heart rate. You can talk, but you should be moving hard or fast enough that you cannot chat away in full conversation. Good examples include brisk walking, riding a bike on a flat surface, or even pushing a lawnmower.
  • Vigorous exercise raises your heart rate to the upper echelons so you are breathing hard and fast. At this level of intensity, you can only say a few words and will have a hard time carrying on a full conversation without having to stop to catch your breath. Vigorous exercises include brisk jogging or running, biking uphill, or swimming laps.

A fitness log will also help you feel accountable, increase motivation, and even provide you with information on your progress, plateaus, and what forms of exercise do and don’t work for you.

Whether you’re fit enough to do vigorous activities regularly or have to start at a moderate pace, the goal is to burn more calories than you consume so you can progress with your weight loss-or at least burn as many calories as you eat so you don’t gain extra pounds.

However, not every person will burn the same number of calories doing the same activity. There are set no numbers for walking, biking, or swimming, and so on. An exercise’s effectiveness depends not only on intensity, but also duration of the workout and how much you weigh. For example, someone who weighs in at 205 pounds cycling at a moderate speed (approximately 12 miles per hour) for one hour will expend an estimated 745 calories, but someone weighing 130 pounds burns 472 calories.

The good news is there are plenty of devices and apps available to measure the calorie burn for you while working out. These are great tools because they take the guesswork out and you see exactly how hard you’re working.

Diabetes & Exercise

When exercising with diabetes, you want to keep a few things in mind. First, always check your blood sugar before exercise and directly after. If your pre-workout blood sugar is above 250 mg/dL with ketones present in your urine, or above 300 mg/dL, do not exercise until your blood sugar lowers and there is no evidence of ketones. (You can buy Ketone Test Strips in your local pharmacy.) If your blood sugar is low before exercising (even if on the low end of normal), you may need to eat 15 grams of carbohydrates before exercising to prevent hypoglycemia. A medium apple or one cup of low-fat milk will do the trick. If you will be exercising moderately or vigorously for more than 30 minutes, increase this to at least 30 grams of carbohydrates, like 1 cup of whole grain cereal or a half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s also a good idea to test your blood sugar in the middle of exercising to make sure it haven’t dropped too low.

After your workout, eat a light meal or snack within an hour to prevent your blood sugar from continuing to fall, which can result in hypoglycemia. You want to eat balanced amounts of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat. A turkey breast sandwich on whole grain bread with one teaspoon of mayonnaise works great. If your blood sugar falls below 100 mg/dL, eat and then recheck your blood sugar in two hours. If it is still low, make sure to eat an additional snack containing 15 grams of carbohydrates, such as six whole grain crackers.

People with diabetes need to be vigilant about checking their feet after exercising. Invest in supportive, well-fitted footwear, and always inspect your feet for signs of blisters, irritation, or cuts. If left untreated, these can lead to serious infections. If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, consult your physician to determine what forms of exercise and what level of intensity is appropriate for you.

This Week’s Moves

As you know, there are five main components of your Dollar Diabetes Clubs physical activity plan:

  1. Sitting less each day
  2. Incorporating cardiovascular/aerobic exercise 3 times a week
  3. Performing strength training at least 2 times a week
  4. Flexibility training
  5. Balance training

This week, I want you to do two things:

  • Incorporate 1 or 2 strength-building activities two times per week
  • Incorporate 1 or 2 flexibility & balance exercises two times per week

Examples of strength-building exercises include:

  • Wall squat
  • Plank
  • Push-ups (knee or traditional)
  • Crunches
  • Laying leg raises
  • Lunges

Examples of flexibility and balance exercises include:

  • Single leg stand
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Quadriceps stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Overhead shoulder stretch
  • Weight shifts

Which exercises will you incorporate this week?

In order to stay on target with your physical activity plan, it’s important to track your progress. Tracking is a great way to monitor how much exercise you have done, but also to note changes in blood sugar, weight, and fitness. A fitness log also will help you feel accountable, increase motivation, and provide you with information on your progress, plateaus, and what forms of exercise do and don’t work for you.

Start this week by jotting down the time of day you exercise, the duration, and the form of exercise. Next week, we will take a more in-depth look at exercise tracking for even faster results!


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