Type 2 Diabetes
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It's Never Too Late to Try Something New
Running has been part of my life since middle school. I enjoy mapping out new running routes when I travel, listening to music when I run, and observing how different my neighborhood looks when I run my usual route during the four seasons. I always encourage my patients to exercise.
Even though exercise is a big part of my life, I can relate to the feeling of not wanting to exercise, or feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day to exercise. There are days when going for a run after work doesn’t sound appealing. If it has been a long day or if I’m feeling sluggish, I don’t always feel like putting on my running shoes. However, those are the days I need it the most. After a 3 mile run or 20-30 minute walk around my neighborhood, I feel like a different person. I have more energy to cook my dinner and I actually sleep better at night. I can guarantee that I’m not the only one that feels this way.
I’ve always been aware of how important aerobic exercise is, such as walking, running, biking, hiking, swimming and dancing. But there’s another type of exercise that doesn’t seem to get enough attention, and that would be non-aerobic exercise. Examples of this include weight lifting, sit-ups, pushups, wall sits, yoga, and Pilates.
At the Friedman Diabetes Institute we offer a yoga class once per week to our patients. Many of my patients, friends, and colleagues swear by yoga, so I decided to give it a shot. It’s a good way to get some physical activity; it’s also a stress reliever! Let me tell you, I sure was a little nervous trying a new activity. I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to do some of the poses. During my first class I learned it’s okay if you can’t do the moves as well as everyone else. When trying a new activity, you do what your body can tolerate. The goal is to build strength and endurance over time. I enjoyed my first yoga class because the goal is to focus on mindfulness, relaxation, and the art of being in tune with how your body feels.
I could go on and on about the physical health and mental health benefits of aerobic and non-aerobic exercise. Physical activity and movement are important for just about everyone living with diabetes. If you’re not doing exercise now, I encourage you to look at it with a different approach. If you don’t like to walk, don’t walk! Try something else like riding an outdoor or stationary bike. View exercise as a way to manage stress. Just learn from me and know that it’s not too late to try something new. Chances are, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start sooner.