Valentine’s Day is this week, and if you’ve read The Tip of the Week (if you haven’t yet read it you can find it in the column to the right) you know you can include some dark chocolate for the celebration.
If your Valentine (or you) made a commitment to improve their fitness level you may be thinking of adding a stylish fitness tracker to the arsenal of helpful tools. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to gift someone you love with a fitness tracker; for one thing February is American Heart Month and we all know that regular, moderate exercise is wonderful for our hearts.
While we know exercise is good for us for many different reasons, we still need some sort of motivation to continue a new exercise habit. A fitness tracker really helps with motivation! (And Valentine’s Day sales are to be found at almost every retail outlet, whether on-line or at a brick and mortar store!)
My friend Lauren Thomas shared with me some of the diabetes and fitness findings gathered by the team at Reviews.com, which you will find as you read below.
Be sure to click on the link she’s shared about the 3 Best Fitness Trackers for a comprehensive review! There are many choices available and the objective review is just what you’ll need to find a fitness tracker for that special someone (even if that special someone is you).
Diabetes and fitness
We’ve all heard it before: exercise is an important part of feeling happier, sleeping better, maintaining a healthy weight, and even managing cholesterol levels. But for diabetics, the positive effects go even further. According to the CDC, physical activity makes the body more sensitive to insulin. This can help control blood sugar l and lower the risk of heart disease and nerve damage.
What’s standing in your way?
There are endless excuses for not staying physically active, many of which have simple solutions:
- It’s too hard – “being active” doesn’t mean hour-long gym sessions! The most important part is to simply get started. Go for a 10-minute walk in the evening and build up to 30 minutes several times throughout the week. Park as far away from the storefront as you can in a parking lot to get exercise in.
- I don’t have time – It’s easy to pick other activities over exercise. Work, family, and the daily upkeep of one’s life can occupy much of our time. Squeeze in smaller activities throughout your day like taking the stairs, cleaning the house, and taking the dog for a walk. Bursts of 5 – 10 minutes throughout the day really add up!
- I don’t like it, it’s not fun – Physical activity comes in all shapes and sizes. The key is to finding something that you love. If you’ve always just tried walking, maybe give swimming or a dance fitness class a try. Sometimes just getting the right activity into your schedule can make a big difference in how you view exercise.
Keeping Track of your Fitness
As Harvard Health mentions, a sedentary lifestyle is linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death. By consciously tracking your activity level, you and your doctor can become more aware of this substantial risk factor in the same way that doctors track tobacco use and blood pressure.
While experts often rely on metrics like cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and the peak amount of oxygen your body uses during exercise (V02 max), there are other ways for people to gauge their activity level on a daily basis. Utilizing a fitness tracker can help you track your daily activity via steps walked or distance traveled, and some models even track the wearer’s heart rate. A good target is 10,000 daily steps (about 4.5 miles). You can take a look at this guide from Reviews.com for more information about fitness trackers: https://www.reviews.com/
So what’s next?
For diabetics, the CDC recommends consulting with your healthcare provider to determine the best physical activities for you. Be sure to practice safe exercise precautions including:
- Drinking plenty of fluids during physical activity to prevent dehydration
- Checking your blood sugar before and after activity, particularly if you take insulin
- Eat a small snack if your blood sugar falls below 100 mg/dL to avoid hypoglycemia
- If your blood sugar falls above, 240 mg/dL it may be unsafe to exercise at that particular time
- Test your urine for ketones, which are “substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy. The presence of ketones indicates that your body doesn’t have enough insulin to control your blood sugar. If you are physically active when you have high ketone levels, you risk ketoacidosis – a serious diabetes complication that needs immediate treatment.”
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks, checking your feet for sores and other injuries
Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy American Heart Month!