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Making Strides

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Session 2: Step to the Beat of a Healthier You

Why is physical activity important for pre-diabetes prevention?

Physical activity allows the body to better control blood sugar levels by decreasing the body's insulin resistance found in type 2 diabetes. As the muscles are moved during exercise, they require sugar as their energy source. The muscles need the help of insulin to carry the sugars from the bloodstream into their cells to provide the necessary energy. Therefore, insulin is better utilized when you are active compared to when you are inactive.

Overall health benefits of physical exercise go beyond type 2 diabetes prevention. Studies show strong evidence for decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, colon cancer, breast cancer, weight gain, depression, and falls as well as improvement in heart, lung, and brain functions. 

Health enhancing activity. This type of physical activity is added to one’s normal activity to add health benefits. Our focuses are on aerobic activity and strength training. Aerobic activity focuses on increasing the heart rate and breathing while strength training challenges the muscles to work against forms of resistance or force.

Ways to increase physical activity

Set a goal

canva---journal-with-phone.jpgOne of the benefits in setting fitness goals is identifying the barriers and facilitators to reaching those goals. Facilitators are those actions that help you achieve your fitness progress. Barriers are those actions that prevent your progress. Together they provide necessary feedback for achieving your fitness goals.

To be helpful these goals should be measurable, and realistic in your ability to achieve them. Remember, goal setting is a tool or a guideline for measuring results. If your goal is not reached, it is not failure, but offers the ability to find what works and what adjustments need to be made.

Track movement

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Tracking your workouts has been shown to improve physical activity by:

  • Making it more likely to reach and surpass your goal.
  • Lending accountability to yourself and your goals.
  • Allowing for easier modifications and showing when and where changes need to be made.

Keeping a record of your movement can be motivating and reinforcing as a reminder of why you are doing what you are. Documenting your movement or change can be done with resources such as a pedometer, fitness watches, various apps, or writing in a fitness notebook. Before and after photos are an option for those that find visual progress more motivating than data.

Find a partner

Exercise in a partner or group based setting adds accountability and motivation to workouts. Consider a walking group with friends or partner workouts with your significant other.

Helpful educational materials and videos

References