Physical activity is an important part of managing Type 2 diabetes, but cold, gray winter weather makes it easy to stay close to the couch.
Here are a few expert tips to sneak in exercise on days when you’d rather be sneaking in a nap:
Focus on the shoes
Wear running or walking shoes as much as your schedule allows. The comfortable footwear makes it convenient to get in a quick stroll whether you’re at home, work or anywhere in between.
Take the stairs
If you can’t do stairs, park a little farther away from the entrance to a store or your office. Again, it’s about building in reasons to take more steps.
Build your social activities around movement
Join friends for a walk, build a snowman with the kids or have a snowball fight.
The American Diabetes Association suggests cleaning your house, exercising along to a video or DVD, walking around the mall or using that treadmill in the basement. All these activities are great exercise, and you can stay indoors where it’s toasty. Indoor exercise is a safer bet if you have balance issues or foot problems that might make trying to walk outside when it’s icy a risky proposition.
Take advantage of the fitness center
Traveling doesn’t give you a pass to skip your workout. Use the gyms at your hotel or motel, or ask your concierge about walking or hiking trails near your destination.
Get in a quick walk during a layover
Stuck waiting for your next flight? Instead of groaning about a two-hour delay, spend half of the time walking around the airport. If your schedule permits and you’re healthy enough, walk from one gate to the next to catch your connecting flight instead of taking the people mover.
Exercising outdoors can be invigorating, but people with diabetes need to take extra precautions to protect their skin, hands and feet, according to the American Diabetes Association. Layer protective clothing and wear waterproof shoes as well as moisture-wicking socks and gloves to keep skin dry. Remember to check your feet for blisters, cuts and other injuries.
Watch the wind chill levels: If it’s too cold, you’re at risk for frostbite. Stay hydrated. And remember to check your blood sugar levels, and plan your meals to match your activity levels.