Summer’s over and those longs walks in your neighborhood or park are not as practical or pleasant now that it’s cold and dark outside. How can people with diabetes continue the regular physical activity that is so helpful for controlling blood glucose and managing weight?
Some suggestions for keeping active
Here is a collection of ideas that should help you keep moving when it’s too cold, too hot, too dark, or too rainy to even think about going outside!
Walk inside. Many malls have instituted extended hours so that people can walk before the stores open. For variety, go to a museum or large store. Just remember to keep moving for 30 minutes…then do your shopping (or hurry home before you spend much money!)
Walk while watching TV. March in place or walk around the room while you watch a favorite show.
Check out “on demand” fitness shows on your TV. Many workouts are available for you to try, including ones featuring dance, strength training, kickboxing, and yoga.
Work out to a fitness DVD. Use one of the many walk DVDs where an instructor guides you through different steps as you accumulate the miles. Or, if your walking DVD has gotten too easy for you, check your local store or try Googling “fitness DVDs.” The possibilities are endless!
Use a mini-cycler. These nifty little pedaling units allow you to pedal away while you’re watching TV, and can then be stored under a desk. A mini-cycler can also be set up on a tabletop, so you can give your arms a workout.
Exercise in front of your computer. Find a good exercise website on the Internet—some instructors even showcase doing exercises while sitting in a chair—and work out for 10 or 15 minute intervals through the day. It's all there—fitness workouts, aerobics, dance aerobics, dance fitness, and so on.
Dance! Put on your favorite music (and maybe grab your favorite partner), and dance in the privacy of your own home.
Use light weights. Use two items of canned goods or two water bottles the same size for beginning light weight training.
Consider buying some exercise equipment. If your budget allows, think about buying a fitness video game, a stationary bicycle, a treadmill, or some other piece of equipment. Just be sure to put it in a location where you will use it—and don’t hang clothes on it!
Winter sports. Check out winter sports like sledding, snowshoeing, iceskating, and skiing to supplement daily activity. Don’t forget that building a snowman and having a snowball fight also count as exercise!
Go outside and walk. Bundle up and walk outside. It can be very invigorating!
Maintaining regular physical activity all year round is a healthy habit. I hope some of these ideas will help you stay active this winter!