If you have diabetes, you may think that only a lot of exercise is helpful. But that is not true.
Increasing your daily activity by any amount can help improve your control of your blood sugar. Whether you are trying to lose weight, keep your heart healthy, or just want to feel better, there are a lot of ways to add more exercise to your day.
Staying Active at Home
One of the best things you can do is get up and start moving. Any activity is better than no activity.
Get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote control. Clean the house. When you are on the phone, walk around.
Get outside of your house and do chores, such as gardening, raking leaves, and washing the car. Play outside with your kids or grandchildren. Take the dog for a walk.
When You Shop or Run Errands
When you run errands, walk to the store if you can. If you do drive to the store, park your car in the farthest part of the parking lot. Do not use drive-up windows. In the store, walk down every aisle, even if you know it has nothing you want.
At work, walk over to see a co-worker instead of calling or sending them an e-mail. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up and move around while making phone calls. Stretch or walk around instead of taking a coffee break or snacking. During lunch, walk to the post office or do other errands.
On your commute, get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way to work or home.
If you want to find out how much activity you are getting during the day, wear a pedometer. These small devices clip to your clothing and count the number of steps you take.
After you find out how many steps you take on most days, try to take more steps each day. Your goal for better health should be 10,000 steps a day.
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David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.