What comes to mind when you think about physical activity? Many people think about something challenging, like running, doing aerobics, using a treadmill, or even joining a gym. But the truth is there are different ways to stay active – you don’t need to run a marathon! Slowly increasing your physical activity each week is enough. “As you get started, try different activities until you find one that you like,” says Yusvelys Garcia, a trained lifestyle coach at Hispanic Federation, a lifestyle change program in Florida.
Yusvelys loves encouraging her program participants to find routines that work for them. Doing physical activity regularly can help you reverse or manage prediabetes, which is when a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. People with prediabetes can participate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) to cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
“There are people who refuse to do physical activity because they think it’s just about going out for a run or going to a gym,” says Yusvelys. “One of the participants of the lifestyle change program told me that she doesn’t like walking, but she loves to decorate her house. We worked together to take advantage of her favorite hobby and find ways for her to exercise as she changes curtains or rearranges furniture at home. It’s all about identifying small changes that each person can make to stay active.”
There are many activities you can do, like dancing, taking your dog for a walk, working in your garden or playing with your grand kids. The important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy and that you can do based on your physical condition. “Tracking physical activity is very important because it can help people become more aware of how much physical activity they are doing and how much more they could do,” says Yusvelys. “Ideally, every person would do [at least] 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week, but it should be a step-by-step process.”
“Staying active is necessary, but it can be fun! My dad is 83 years old and no matter what happens, he goes for a walk for at least 30 minutes every day. Anyone can do it, as long as there’s commitment,” says Yusvelys. If you have prediabetes and don’t know how to begin to make changes to improve your health, ask your doctor about the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program OR a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program.As part of the program, you will work with a lifestyle coach like Yusvelys that will help you stay physically active, reach and maintain a healthy weight, eat healthier, and manage stress to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Visit our Diabetes Resource Hub for more information about the prevention and self-management of diabetes. Start moving more today!
Not sure how to get started? Try one of these activities:
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