During Earl "The Pearl" Monroe's basketball days with Baltimore and New York, he had no problem getting the recommended 30-90 minutes of exercise each day. But now that he's hung up his high tops, he finds it challenging to fit in exercise. Earl makes an extra effort to exercise almost every day because he knows how important physical activity is when you have diabetes. Here are some helpful tips from Earl on how to get active – it's not as hard as you think!
Most adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Such activity is especially important if you have diabetes. But before you start or change your exercise regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor.
Moderate-intensity physical activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. Moderate activity means that you should be able to talk but not sing the words to your favorite song. By moving more, you can help yourself get healthier.
Here are some examples of moderate exercise:
- Walk fast
- Do water aerobics
- Ride a bike on level ground or with a few small hills
- Walk the dog
Break it down!
Right now, 150 minutes a week may seem like a lot. But you can break this time down into 10- to 30-minute segments. Making exercise part of your daily routine is an excellent way to stick to it and to reap the benefits. You can, for example:
- Walk 10 to 15 minutes during your lunch break, perhaps getting some errands done as part of your walk
- Get off the bus or subway a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way
- Join a recreational sports team, such as softball or kickball
- Go on a bike ride, perhaps with a family member or friend
- Go dancing
- Walk a few laps around the shopping mall
It helps to start keeping a daily log of your activities to help you stay on top of your exercise program.
Here's an example of a weekly exercise routine that Earl uses to help keep his diabetes under control.
Earl's sample exercise week
|Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood after dinner with my wife for 30 minutes||Play kickball with my grandkids in the backyard for an hour||Briskly walk 7 minutes each way to and from gym
At the gym, lift weights to work on my muscle tone
|Mow the lawn for 45 minutes||Read my favorite magazine while on a stationary bike for 15 minutes
Go to the gym to lift weights one more time
|Throw a ball around in the park with my family||Take a break from physical activity and plan next week’s meals and work-outs|