Welcome to a new blog series from Glooko focused on the benefits of physical activity and how to incorporate more movement into your daily life. While we’ll focus on physical activity and fitness for people with diabetes, everything I share can be enjoyed by anyone.
So, who am I? I’m Sanaz Nosrat, a clinical research scientist at Glooko. I have a PhD in exercise science with multiple certifications from the American Council on Exercise and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I also have multiple years of experience as both an exercise science researcher and personal trainer.
I’m hoping this new blog series will help you live a more active lifestyle. So, get ready to join me on a fun journey towards a healthier and happier you!
Wondering how you can get started with being more physically active today?
You have probably heard many times that physical activity benefits your health. Maybe you are wondering how to become more physically active without making significant changes to your daily routine. Or perhaps you have already started being more physically active, but are unsure how to keep it up.
This month, I’ll share the benefits of physical activity and handy tricks to incorporate more movement into your daily life.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
Think about physical activity as any movement you do during the day. It can be something as simple as standing up for a couple of minutes after an hour of sitting. It can be walking to the bus or subway station, or even taking a few stairs instead of taking the elevator.
“Physical activity” is not structured or programmed like “exercise,” which makes it easier to incorporate it into your daily life, especially if you are struggling with following a strict exercise program or going to the gym several times per week. Of course, both exercise and physical activity have multiple health benefits.
BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Physical activity has several benefits for everyone, including people living with diabetes.
Research has shown that increased physical activity during the day (such as adding walking to your routine) can positively impact body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and resting heart rate. Interestingly, research has also shown that daily activities can positively impact how we internally process carbohydrates.
Think about it this way: the more you move during the day instead of just sitting down, the more you increase your daily caloric deficit, which can help with better blood glucose and weight management.
Below are some steps you can take to increase your daily physical activity.
Start small. Try to add any physical activity you can afford to your day, but don’t rush it. If you just started being more physically active, think about doing 10 minutes each day for the first couple of weeks. You can even break it down into 2 minutes of walking around your home for every hour of sitting. You can also go for 5 to 10 minutes of walking each day whenever it’s feasible for you to take a break.
Be creative. Everyone is different, and we all have specific daily routines. Use your creativity and find what activity—whether it’s walking, standing, stretching, doing work around the house, climbing stairs, grocery shopping, dancing to your favorite music—works best for you.
Ask friends or family to join you. It’s always good to have some support, especially if you feel less motivated to do the activity you want to do. By doing this, others around you will also benefit from being physically active, so it’s a win-win!
Use an activity tracker. Using an activity tracker as simple as a pedometer, a device that counts steps, can help you increase your physical activity. Research has shown that users increased their physical activity level by 26.9% after using a pedometer for 18 weeks. There are also several apps, including some that the Glooko digital health app is compatible with, that you can download on your phone to track your physical activity and steps.
Don’t postpone it. We all have been there. It’s always tempting to postpone tasks for later in the day. Once you have less energy and feel tired, it will be harder to complete that task. Try doing some physical activity whenever you feel more energetic during the day. As you get used to being more active, you’ll realize that physical activity can actually make you feel more energetic and even happier.
Have fun! Making it fun is one of the most important things in this process. We are more likely to stick to and continue the activities that we like compared to things that we don’t like even knowing that both benefit our health. So, get moving and make it fun!
Monitor your blood glucose. Monitor your blood glucose before and after a bout of physical activity. This way, you will know your numbers, and more importantly, you can track how physical activity impacts your blood glucose.
One way to keep track of your blood glucose is to download and use the Glooko app. You can also connect and sync your activity tracker app, including iHealth, Fitbit, or Strava, to Glooko. This way, you can see both your blood glucose and activity data in one place.
In order to reap the benefits of physical activity, you can incorporate more daily movements like the ones I shared above into your life. Don’t be afraid of trying new things and see what works best for you!
You got this! Now, let’s all do some quick physical activity, shall we?
Yours in Health and Fitness,
Sanaz Nosrat, PhD, CSCS, ACE PT