Regular physical activity has a number of benefits. It can lower your blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure; improve your body’s ability to use insulin; help you lose weight and reduce body fat; and reduce your stress levels. It also can help you maintain heart health and keep your bones strong.
The University of Chicago participated in a major government study, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), that showed that modest weight loss of 5 to 7 percent — for example, 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person — can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. People in the study used diet and exercise to lose weight.
Note: The following guidelines are presented for informational purposes only. Always consult your doctor before embarking on a new physical activity plan (Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)).
- Find ways to add extra activity into your everyday lifestyle. Examples include:
- walking while talking on the phone
- cleaning the house
- getting up to change the TV channel rather than using a remote control
- parking at the far end of the parking lot
- walking around during your coffee break rather than eating
- taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Start aerobic activity, which requires the use of your large muscles and speeds up your heart rate. Aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week is helpful. Again, talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen. Be sure to warm up and stretch before exercising. Some of the many forms of aerobic exercise include:
- brisk walking
- swimming or water aerobics
- playing basketball or tennis
- cross-country skiing
- in-line skating, ice skating or skateboarding
- climbing stairs
- Do strength training. This will help you build muscle, which burns more calories than fat. Try using hand weights, elastic bands or weight machines, three times per week.