Manage Diabetes With Sports and Hobbies

Focus on the activities you love and make fitness fun!

You don’t have to be one of those 10-mile-a-day runners or a Tour de France cyclist to be an active person. Focus on sports and hobbies you love.

If you find an activity you enjoy and can do often, you’ll find yourself in better shape — and maybe even happier — in no time. And it won’t even seem like effort!

[step-list-wrapper title=”” time=””] [step-item number=”1. ” image_url=”” title=” Don’t fret about aerobic versus strength training.” ]Experts conclude that aerobic activity (walking and cycling, for instance) and strength training (lifting weights and doing strength exercises) are almost equally beneficial for controlling blood sugar, so pick whichever most appeals to you. Aerobic activity causes your muscles to burn energy and then draw glucose out of the blood to replace that energy, thus lowering your blood sugar. Strength training gives your body a larger mass of muscle, so there are more cells drawing glucose out of your bloodstream at any one time — another path to lower blood sugar.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”2. ” image_url=”” title=”Sign up for something fun.” ]You might be turned off by the prospect of huffing your way around a running track or grunting your way through a series of weight machines at the gym, so appeal instead to the human desire for fun. Try a swimming-pool aerobics class that plays oldies music, sign up for tango lessons and dress the part, join a hiking club to become one with nature, or volunteer to give walking tours at an arboretum.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”3. ” image_url=”” title=”Invest in professional lessons, classes, or retreats.” ]You may do a double take when you find out the price of a three-day yoga retreat, but if you’re going to splurge on something, your health should be at the top of the list. When you pay an expert to show you how to use weight machines properly, to ride a horse, or belly dance, you’ll master the skill faster and enjoy your pursuit more. And a lesson is a small price to pay to keep from injuring yourself.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”4. ” image_url=”” title=”Try yoga or tai chi class. ” ]You don’t have to work up a sweat to get a benefit — or three — from exercise. Both yoga and tai chi increase your flexibility and balance. The slow, sure movements and gentle stretching not only benefit your muscles and joints but also your mental health — their stress-relief benefits are proven. Since being stressed can raise your blood pressure and drive your blood sugar down, or more often, up, those 45 minutes in class can do you more good than you realize.[/step-item]

[step-list-wrapper title=”” time=””] [step-item number=”5. ” image_url=”” title=” If you love people, keep it social.“]  If you’ve got the gift of gab or are always up for meeting new friends, seek out group activities such as volleyball, shuffleboard, bocce, and bowling. Staying socially connected is a key to keeping your spirits up. And you know what they say: Laughter is the best medicine. If you have a good time with the people you’re exercising with, chances are you’ll keep coming back for more.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”6. ” image_url=”” title=”Hang around fun, active people.” ]If you have friends who love to hike or hit the driving range, their enthusiasm is likely to rub off on you. And most sports are more fun when you play them with friends. A study at the University of Iceland found that men whose fathers, brothers, and close friends exercised with them (or who emphasized exercise in their own lives) were more likely to exercise and be fit than those whose friends and family did not participate.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”7. ” image_url=”” title=”Vary your activities.” ]Your passion for racquetball is bound to wane if you keep doing it day in and day out. Give yourself a break from your favorite game and go country line dancing or hiking in the great outdoors once in a while for a change of pace. If mountain biking is your thing, trade in your spokes for some strokes at the swimming pool.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”8. ” image_url=”” title=”Train for an event. ” ]Whether it’s a 5-mile “fun run” or a walk for a good cause, put it on your calendar, then get out there and get ready. Give yourself plenty of time to work up gradually to the amount of walking or running you’ll be doing.[/step-item]

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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