Choosing a physical activity

What is the best type of activity to help me lose weight?

Aerobic activities are the best way to burn calories and lose weight. This includes anything that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. Activities such as walking, gardening, cleaning, and climbing stars are all aerobic activities; so too are dancing, swimming, cycling, and aerobics classes. The more aerobic activity you do, and the longer you do it, the more calories you will burn.

I get out of breath when I walk upstairs. What can I do to develop more stamina?

Increasing your activity level gradually is a good way to develop your stamina. For example, going for a 10-minute walk or gardening for a little longer than usual, or doing extra housework, will all build stamina. As you become fitter, you will soon notice that you can keep going for longer and are less likely to be breathless after minor exertion. Monitoring your fitness level by keeping a record of your progress may motivate you to stay active.

What type of activity is good for stress relief?

Almost any type of activity is good for combating stress because activity causes the release of brain chemicals known as endorphins and serotonin, which have a positive effect on your mood and sense of well-being. You might find that taking part in gentle, non-competitive, or meditative activities such as yoga, tai chi, or swimming helps you deal with stress.

What physical activities can I do with my partner?

Finding activities you both enjoy will make it easier to keep motivated. Walking, biking, or hiking together, playing badminton or tennis indoors or outdoors, or going to dancing classes together might all be options for you.

I enjoy physical activity with a group but don’t want to go to an aerobics class. What else can I do?

Other group activities include joining a rambling group, playing golf, softball, or bowling or going to a stretching or yoga class. You might like to try aqua-aerobics, which is a more gentle and low-impact alternative to conventional aerobics.

I have high blood pressure. Are there any activities that I should avoid?

If you have high blood pressure, becoming or staying physically active is very important. The only activities to avoid are weight-lifting, and sports such as squash, which are quite vigorous and demand intense activity. If you are very overweight, have heart or breathing problems, have been inactive for a long time, or your blood pressure is very high, talk with your health professional before you take up a new activity. Relaxation exercises can be helpful if you have high blood pressure.

How can I find a physical activity that I enjoy?

A god starting point for creating your activity plan is to think about activities you have enjoyed in the past. Is activity a way of getting some time to yourself, or is it a way to meet people and be sociable? Do you enjoy being outdoors or indoors? Do you like being at home or going out? Do you enjoy competing with others, wither individually or in teams? The answers to these questions will help you choose an activity that you enjoy.

How can I best take care of myself while being physically active?

Drinking plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated will help. Monitoring the effect of your activity on your blood glucose by testing it frequently and taking action to avoid a hypoglycemic attack if you need to will help keep your blood glucose well balanced. Your health professional will give you specific information about an activity program that will fit in with you diabetes.

My health professional told me that I should look after my feet more when I go hiking. Why?

Long periods of walking can make you vulnerable to foot injuries. For example, a stone in your shoe or friction from a shoe or boot can lead to cuts, blisters, and inflammation. If you have reduced blood flow or nerve damage to your feet, you may not be able to feel this kind of damage and it may quickly become worse. Consequently, minor foot problems can develop into ulcers. Making sure that your socks and hiking shoes or boots fit your feet perfectly and don’t rub will help prevent this.

Should I avid hiking and jogging if I have blisters on my feet?

Yes, waiting until the blisters on your feet have completely healed will ensure that they do not become worse or infected through added pressure or rubbing.

My 16-year-old son has Type 2 diabetes and is very inactive. What activities could he do?

If your son is overweight, he may not feel confident about participating in team sports, but he might be happier doing other types of activity. For example, if he frequently travels short distances by car or public transportation, he could start walking or cycling instead. At home, he could help you with household jobs, such as washing the car or mowing the lawn; offering him a reward might act as an incentive for doing these things. You might also want to set a good example by being more active yourself or as a family, with trips to your favorite leisure spots or walking in the park. As your son becomes fitter and loses weight, he may feel more confident and want to take up an activity that he has expressed an interest in – such as skateboarding, working out in the gym, or soccer.

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