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Diabetes Exercise Tips**

An article from Newsweek Magazine says that the risk of getting diabetes is 30% lower with three hours per week of brisk walking. Of course the following diabetes and exercise ideas can also reduce your need for diabetes medication if you already have this disease and can help you to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Exercise also helps to prevent heart disease. 

Plus, as you get older, weight lifting can help to keep your muscles toned and "young".  Here are some tips to get you started or to improve an existing diabetes exercise program.  ** See the note at the bottom of the page for cautions.

Eight Tips for a Diabetes Exercise and Walking Program to Help Prevent or Control the Disease

  1. Find a friend or relative to be your diabetes exercise buddy. I’ve been hiking 3-5 miles a day for over 20 years because I meet a friend every weekday morning. I know she expects me to be there, so I always show up. I’d feel really guilty if I didn’t make it to her house. Having an “exercise buddy” really works, whether you walk or work out at the gym!

  2. Start your exercise program slowly and add a little more time each week. Often what stops people from really developing an exercise habit, is that they do too much and get tired and sore. That leads them to stop exercising. We don’t want that to happen to you!  If you're doing a walking program, always walk at a comfortable pace for as long as you can without becoming too tired.

  3. Walk or work out at least half an hour per day - If you are really out of shape, don't start with this much.  Even 10 minutes can make a big difference!  Then add more as you feel more energy and your body adjusts to the exercise.

    Did you know that walking significantly lowers blood pressure as well as your blood sugar? You can test this for yourself at home.

    Before you walk, check your blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Check them again after your walk and see how many points lower they are. Keep a diary to remind you how much your exercise program helps to keep you healthy. * See the note below before starting a new exercise program.

  4. Try doing your main exercise in the morning. That way your body is energized and your metabolism revved up and ready to go for the day ahead!

  5. Once you've been doing your diabetes exercise program for awhile, if you walk on a flat surface, you can get an extra upper body work out, by using walking or ski poles!  Plus, they help keep you balanced and safe so you’re less likely to fall. They also can help you with your balance in wet or snowy weather. Don’t try this tip unless you already have been walking regularly, it’s strenuous! See * below.

  6. Hike...find a park, open space or even your city streets with some hills and walk up and down the hills. One of the best exercises you can do is hill walking.  It's an excellent cardiovascular workout. Remember to start gradually and work up to longer walks, then steeper hills over time. See * below

  7. Another great diabetes exercise tip is to use light weights while walking - you’d be amazed at how strong your arms and upper back will get when you carry ½ or 1 pound weights on your walks. *See note below about consulting your doctor before doing this, especially if you have pain in your arms or hands or have problems with your balance.

  8. Just think, the best diabetes exercise is the easiest, just walk out your door and enjoy discovering all sorts of interesting things right in your neighborhood. Be sure you have comfortable shoes that fit well and give your feet proper support.

**Never start a new exercise program without consulting either your physician or another expert who can evaluate your condition and any limitations. Take it easy at first and build up to longer and longer exercise periods over time.

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