NKFM provides tips about managing diabetes through physical activity

By Kalynne M. Defever

Communications Coordinator for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan

OSCEOLA COUNTY — As cooler temperatures approach in Michigan, it can sometimes be more challenging for people to get motivated to exercise outside.

For people with diabetes and those at risk, physical activity is essential in managing your health. During October, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is offering tips to help you incorporate physical activity in your life and keep you moving as the weather gets colder.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, causing over 40 percent of all kidney failure cases. Approximately 10 percent of all Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 250,200 Michigan adults have diabetes but are currently undiagnosed. When diabetes is not properly managed with a healthy lifestyle, it can lead to kidney failure as well as heart disease, stroke, blindness and lower-extremity amputations. The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can be both managed and prevented by implementing a healthy lifestyle.

When you move more every day, you will burn more calories. For adults, it’s important to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. If you have not been active, start off slow and build up to your goal. Try taking a brisk walk, dancing, swimming, biking, jogging or any physical activity that helps get your heart rate up. You also can try getting some physical activity throughout the day in 10-minute sessions.

Use these tips to get started, keep you moving and make your physical activity time more fun.

  • Dress to move. Wear supportive shoes with thick, flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock. Your clothes should allow you to move and keep you dry and comfortable.
  • Start off slow. Start off by taking a five-minute walk on most days of the week. Slowly add more time until you reach at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week.
  • Build physical activity into your day. When shopping, park a little further from the door. If it is safe, get off the bus a stop before your work place and walk the rest of the way. While watching TV, walk or dance around the room, march in place or do some sit-ups and leg lifts.
  • Move more at work. Try to get a “movement break” during the day. Take a walk during lunchtime, hand deliver a message instead of emailing or walk around your office while on the phone.
  • Count your steps. You may be surprised to learn how much walking you already do every day. Try using a pedometer to keep track of every step and set goals to increase your steps each day.
  • Make it social and have fun. Try to schedule walking dates with family and friends, take a class at a local recreation center and try varying your activities so you don’t get bored.
  • Keep at it. Pay attention to small successes. The longer you keep at it, the better you’ll feel.

Making changes is never easy, but becoming more physically active is one small step toward a big reward — a healthier life. For more information on how to manage and prevent diabetes, contact the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan by calling (800) 482-1455 or visiting nkfm.org.