Another way to determine if you are exercising at an intensity that is appropriate for you is to think about how much effort you are putting into the activity. This method is called the Borg RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion). Using this scale, you rate your level of effort from 0 (”feels like nothing at all”) to 10 (”very, very hard/maximal”). A Borg rating of 3 to 5 (”moderate” to “hard”) is probably the right spot for you to improve your health and fitness without endangering yourself. Anytime you experience pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, or other discomfort, stop exercising and direct your attention to resolving the problem.
And keep on going…
It’s easy enough to make well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions aimed at improving your physical fitness. The trick is to stay motivated to reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle and better diabetes control. Making physical activity a regular part of your life means planning ahead. Set a specific fitness goal for yourself with very detailed and realistic terms. For example, your goal might be “to walk at lunchtime for 30 minutes three days per week.” Mark your walk days on your calendar so you won’t forget them, and give yourself a pat on the back for each week you reach your goal.
Inviting your friends and significant others to exercise with you can make your physical activity plan more enjoyable and easier to stick to. Even if they don’t have diabetes, this fact may convince them to join in: Published research has shown that lifestyle modification (weight loss and regular moderate physical activity) can reduce a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, delaying or even preventing the onset of the condition.
The benefits of physical activity are amazing. Take them to heart and get moving!