Work physical activity into your lifestyle

June 15, 2010

As swimsuit season kicks into high gear with the arrival of summer temperatures, so might your desire to get into better shape.

Whether you suffer from diabetes or are simply trying to lose a few pounds before you hit the beach, one of the most important things you can do is make physical activity a regular part of your routine, according to Eugenio Lopez, registered nurse for the Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center.

“Studies have shown that being physically active not only helps control blood glucose levels, but it can also decrease blood pressure, reduce the risks of heart disease, improve blood flow, and minimize stress, tension and anxiety,” Lopez says.

The American Diabetes Association has targeted four types of physical activities: aerobic activity such as swimming or brisk walking; strengthening activities such as light weight training; stretching exercises; or simply taking advantage of opportunities throughout the day to be more active such as taking the stairs or walking short distances instead of driving.

For a comprehensive workout routine, a combination of three of the aforementioned exercises is recommended for 30 minutes a day at least five to six times a week.

“But don’t be discouraged if you can only workout for five to 10 minutes,” Lopez advises. “Start doing what you can and work your way up to 30 minutes slowly. Just don’t give up! The key is making exercise fun by finding activities you enjoy doing.”

Before you start working exercise into your routine, Lopez says always check with your health care provider first to make sure it is safe, especially during the hot summer months when it is critical to stay hydrated and protected from the heat.

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