After being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and working on lowering my blood glucose for the past two months (through a low carbohydrate diet and going for walks), I recently started phase 2 of improving my health, which is to do some vigorous exercise multiple times a week. I have not been huge on exercise during the past few years, mostly due to time. It seems like every year that goes by I get busier and have less time for myself. Another reason is that I have had a serious bout of chronic pain that started around May of 2014. It started out as a repetitive strain injury (tennis elbow/tendonitis) and then the pain kept extending to my shoulder, to my upper back trapezius muscle, and into my neck (yes, when you start using your body incorrectly to avoid pain when injured, eventually everything else starts getting affected, it’s a horrible domino effect). The only exercise I had been doing for the past year was 20 minutes of walking after work (sometimes longer walks during the weekends) and a few strengthening exercises with therabands for my upper body at home. Not much, but it was better than no activity at all.
However, now that I have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (and now that my chronic pain has improved a lot more and I can exercise now), I am making an effort to get into an exercise regimen to help build some lean muscle and help manage my blood glucose a bit better. More muscle uses up more glucose and helps your body burn more fat. I have still kept my 20 minute walks to catch the bus home after work (unless it’s frigid cold), but I try to do more intense exercise that elevates my heart rate (like cardio, interval training, and resistance training) 3 or 4 days a week. I am not the kind of person that would enjoy going to the gym though (nor would I have the time to do it), so I have been finding ways to do exercise at home as that way I have NO EXCUSE to not do it. I can do it any day, any time, without leaving the comfort of my home. Can’t use the weather outside being cold or not having enough time to do it as an excuse.
I started exercising at home by following some exercise routines from YouTube videos. The great thing about this is that since I’m in the privacy of my home there is no guilt if I have to stop and take a break in the middle of the routine or if there’s some exercise I cannot physically do (pushups and certain movements with weights are forbidden for me as my shoulder does not allow it). So far, I have been a huge fan of the “Body Project” series on YouTube. They have routines for all levels and there’s usually someone doing modifications of the exercises in case you find the advanced way to do it too difficult. Since I had not really exercised in a long time, I started with their beginner/intermediate low impact cardio workout video (I would have died if I had tried anything that was high impact, lol). It felt good and my muscles were definitely burning (wow did those “squat pounces” kill my thighs, such an effective exercise to build those large thigh muscles though). I could definitely feel the muscle soreness (a good soreness) the next day. I’ve moved onto high impact routines now and there’s some exercises that are still a bit rough for me, but I assume that with time I’ll get fitter and will be able to do them with no crying….I mean, with no issues. 🙂 I already feel a lot fitter, and although my muscles still don’t “look” toned, they definitely feel heaps stronger than they used to be. Here’s one of their videos I started out with.
In addition to using YouTube as a resource for exercising, I also like going for longer walks when the weather allows, especially during the weekends when I have more time. I do about 40-45 minutes of walking with my husband. We enjoy spending the time together plus it helps us hold each other accountable. It has been frigid cold these past few weeks so our walks have been a bit more scarce. Can’t wait until the spring when it’s nice again so we can go walking more often. I enjoy spending the time outside getting some sunshine, it helps relax my mind.
Overall, I think I have been doing well sticking to my exercise routine and it seems it has been helping my fasting blood glucose levels get a lot better (they’re now consistently under 100 mg/dL). I must work hard to stay on track and not allow myself to fall off the wagon. I HAVE to make time for it even when I’m busy or don’t feel like it. For me, the hardest part is getting started, once I’m 10 minutes into the exercise routine and sweating I’m loving it. Plus I feel amazing afterwards! Yay, endorphins!