If you’re planning to exercise for over half an hour, plan on checking your blood sugar at half-hour intervals. Carry some glucose tablets or other carbohydrate to treat hypoglycemia. Depending on how strenuous your workout is, blood sugar levels can be affected up to 24 hours after exercise. Plan on checking your blood sugar several times after exercise until you learn how the exercise affects your body and your blood glucose levels.
Here are a few more tips to make exercise enjoyable:
- Warm up your muscles before each exercise session by doing your activity at a slower-than-normal pace for 5 or 10 minutes.
- Cool down after exercise by slowing your activity or by walking at a moderate pace for about 5 minutes.
- Include stretching in your exercise plan. Good times to stretch are after your warm-up or after your cool-down.
- Unless you’re exercising for more than an hour, water is as good as or better than sports drinks or fruit juices to quench your thirst and prevent dehydration.
- Be alert for increased thirst, weakness, confusion, or other signs of dehydration if the weather is hot.
- Wear the proper attire: well-fitted shoes that are not constricting, layered clothing if exercising in the cold, and sunscreen and a hat if you exercise outdoors.
- Examine your feet for sores, cuts, or redness before and after exercise, especially if you have or are developing signs of nerve damage.
- Listen to your body. Be prepared to take a break or seek appropriate medical attention if you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, or extreme shortness of breath.
Rethinking weight loss
Weight loss does not exist in a vacuum. Rather than seeking to shoehorn a new, more healthful regimen into your life, seek to make it an integral part of your life. (See “Tips for Healthful Weight Loss” to help you get started.) Weight loss alone can result in improvements in quality of life, energy, and mobility, but the more important realization is that the overall lifestyle that promotes weight loss and weight maintenance has tremendous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. There is no universal magic bullet for weight loss since everyone will prefer different exercises and food combinations, but perhaps the National Weight Control Registry has helped to dispel some of the mystery surrounding successful weight loss.