Helping you become more active
We’re looking at what stops you becoming more active and what changes you can make that will benefit you if you’re living with diabetes. It can be hard to motivate yourself to become more active. But we’re hoping to change that for you with our new videos and advice on moving more and getting active on our Learning Zone.
Barely a day goes by where we’re not reminded of the nation’s ‘obesity crisis’ and warned about the importance of exercising and eating healthily.
And while making healthier choices is vital to anyone’s wellbeing, it’s particularly crucial if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, as diet and activity play a key role in the management of the condition.
We all know exercise is good for us. We all feel good after we do it. But it’s often easier to find an excuse than to find the time to get active. So it’s important to remember that regularly breaking a sweat — whether you’re doing something for 10 minutes or two hours — will significantly reduce your risk of complications like heart attacks and stroke.
Fortunately, if you’d like to break bad habits or start making lifestyle changes, the autumn months are the perfect time.
‘We’ve moved away from the barbecues and picnics of the warmer months, while the excess of the festive season hasn’t arrived ,” says personal trainer Lee Thompson, a personal trainer who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes five years ago and now specialises in working with clients with the condition.
“At this time of year, you won’t be jostling for space at the gym or a place at a fitness class so it’s the perfect time to start working out,’ he adds. “However, you don’t have to go to the gym — you could try walking groups, swimming, group sports or even gardening. The key is finding something you enjoy.”
So what’s stopping you?
It can be easier for people to limit their activity levels to make their diabetes easier to manage due to less variation in blood glucose levels, but the benefits of being more active far outweigh.
“One thing that ‘demotivates’ people with diabetes from trying to be more active is that changing your diet or activity levels can mean having to make changes to medications and doing more blood glucose testing,” says Simon O’Neil, our Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison. “People think, ‘I’ve always just sat on the sofa — I know how to manage my diabetes from here. But if I start training for a marathon, I’m going to have to make changes to my diabetes management.”
“In Type 2 diabetes, you may find that if you lose weight and become more active, you may need to adjust diabetes medication, which is something you should discuss with your healthcare team.”
If you’re very overweight, unfit, or have mobility problems, becoming more active can feel like an insurmountable task.
“People are often given advice such as, ‘get off the bus a stop early,’ but if, for example, you have damaged knees, you just can’t do that,” says Simon. “However, armchair exercises could work. So it’s worth looking for an exercise routine that works within the context of what you can actually do. If you think, ‘well I’m too fat, I’m too overweight, I get out of breath just walking,’ try to find something that’s a little more exerting than your normal routine.”
One of the biggest problems that people with Type 1 diabetes face when they want to increase their activity levels is a fear of hypoglycaemia.
The key to managing this risk is to make changes gradually and adapt your diabetes management as you work towards a healthier lifestyle. Speaking to your diabetes healthcare team about any changes you want to make to your lifestyle, is an important step. They can work with you to adapt the way you manage your diabetes.
Get more information
Do you need help becoming more active? Our free Learning Zone is here to do just that.
We tailor out advice to your diabetes, as well as your current activity. Then we’ll guide you through every aspect of becoming more active with your diabetes in mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re active or not. We also have tips on finding new activities that work for you. We look at the incredible effect that just a little activity can have on your condition. You’ll hear from other people with diabetes on the benefits of exercise — like Kumar pictured above — and how to start an exercise routine and stick to it.
You’ll just need to register and complete the Welcome section first.