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Fitness for All: Physical Activity for Diabetes Sufferers

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Being physically active is a good idea for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. According to experts with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “being active makes your body more sensitive to insulin which helps manage your diabetes.”

Other additional benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight, sleeping better, improving your memory, lowering your blood pressure, and feeling happier.

For those that suffer from diabetes, experts say that the goal is to get approximately 150 minutes of exercise each week. One way to do this is to get about 20-25 minutes of exercise each day, including about 2 days of a full-body workout – or using as many body parts as possible that you can during your workout.

Some great ways to get your 20-25 minutes per day include:

  • Walking briskly
  • Doing housework
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Playing a sport
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Dancing 

All these activities work your larger muscles, increase your heart rate, and make you breathe harder which are all good for you and important goals for fitness.

As with any exercise program, be sure to consult your doctor before starting physical activity. Your doctor can also steer you towards activities that are the best for you.

Fitness for All: 10,000 Steps a Day: Where did it come from?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Whether you are an avid fitness guru or just your “Average Joe” you have no doubt at some point in your life heard that the key to being healthy is getting in your “10,000 steps” daily.

But have you ever wondered why 10,000 steps? And is it working? Or is it just causing us unnecessary stress?

Here is what the experts say…

Back in 1965, when the Summer Olympics was held in Tokyo, Japan, a local professor was working on coming up with the best way to fight obesity and heart disease. He calculated that walking 10,000 steps a day – or the equivalent of 5 miles – would translate into a 20% increase in calories burned for the average person.

The professor, Yoshiro Hatano, then came up with a pedometer-like device called the Manpo-kei, to encourage people to get up and moving during the Olympics when fitness was on everyone’s mind.

The popularity of the pedometer and taking 10,000 steps continued in Japan and has since spread to the U.S. and other countries, becoming the standard that World Health Organization (WHO), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still follow today.

While 10,000 steps a day might be an achievable goal for some, experts note that everyone’s fitness ability is different and their steps per day should be adjusted accordingly.

One way to figure out the number of steps that would work for you is to track how many steps you normally take in any given day, then set an achievable goal based on your baseline steps. If you are a person who typically gets in 5,000 steps a day, then shoot for 7,500. Already reaching 10,000 a day? Why not try for 12,500? Even though this theory has been around for decades, there is no need to stress yourself out about reaching this daily goal. Just take it one step at a time.

Fitness for All: It’s Swimming Season

Written by Lisa Jillanza

With the warm weather comes the opening of public pools and home pools and people break out the bathing suit for another season of swimming. For many people, swimming is a good way to wind down after a long day.  But others are using swimming as another means of exercise and they are finding that exercise in the spring and summertime can be fun!

 

Swimming is an excellent way to lose weight and strength train all the while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.  

Exercise experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise because of the great cardiovascular workout you get from swimming.  It is considered a great aerobic exercise because by definition it is an action that maintains an elevated heartbeat for a minimum of 20 minutes. 

You can simply add swimming to your pre-existing aerobic workout to help switch things up and keep your workouts fresh.  Alternate days that you decide to use swimming as your cardio for that day, so you don’t get bored with any one workout.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the affect swimming has on your entire body until it is too late, so be sure to stretch appropriately before you begin. Then start off slow by swimming strides and gradually increasing your speed in the pool.  This will help to elevate your heart rate at a safe pace and help you to last longer during your workout.

Swimming, and using swimming as your key workout, is more about endurance than quickness.  Experts suggest starting out swimming laps for approximately 20 minutes for women and 30 minutes for men.  You can begin to increase your time as necessary and as you continue your workout over the course of weeks or months. 

Again, this will prevent you from getting too tired, too sore, wore out or disappointed in your swimming workout. Try out different strokes when you are swimming, too.  Do some laps using the breaststroke, then switch up and do the backstroke, or even the doggy paddle.  Each swimming stroke using a different variety of muscles and therefore will give you the best overall workout.

Fitness for All: Resistance Band Workout

Written by Lisa Jillanza

If you are looking for something different to do to change your typical workout routine, pick up a set of resistance bands and give some of these exercises a try!

 

Front Squat - Stand on a tube band with the feet slightly wider than your shoulders and center of the band between the feet. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder, securing the band in place by crossing your arms at your chest. Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing your knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8-12 reps.

Bent Over Row - Stand over the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with hands facing the outside of your knees. With elbows bent, pull the band up toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Lower and row for 10-12 reps.

Bench Press - Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand. position them at shoulder height (so your thumbs touch the front of your shoulders). Extend the arms straight up overhead to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Lower back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Overhead Press - Stand over the center of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 8-10 reps.

Russian Twist - Sit on the floor with legs extended, wrapping the center of the band around the bottom of your feet. Hold the free ends in each hand. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the band right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contracting your oblique muscles, bring the band toward your right hip while keeping your middle and low back neutral. Return to starting position and rotate left then right for a total of 10-12 reps on each side.