Do you workout for your mind or your body? Do you do it to lose weight, be stronger, or just have more energy? Yes, I’d love to have a 6-pack, but I personally do it to be a better mom, for my blood sugars and for my mood.
Exercise invigorates our minds and is a form of self-love and stress management. It seems far-fetched to say that your workout will be spiritual, but it can leave you feeling mentally refreshed! Try one of these 5 workouts to see what fits you best, mind and body.
If you’re looking to clear your head, then running or jogging is a great option. Hit 2 birds with one stone and phone a friend to come with you. I do this weekly with my friend Cindy.
Forget the treadmill, and head to a park or beach. Sure, you can do this in the city, but nature is good for your stress hormones. Push yourself to a level of attaining that ‘runner’s high’ that people talk about so often.
#2: Martial arts
Whilst martial arts isn’t perceived as very ‘zen’, there’s something to be said for taking all of your stress out on a punchbag. If you’re having a difficult week, or you just feel like things are building up, try a session like martial arts and come out of the other side on the positive.
Pilates is so good for a stressed HPA-axis (aka stressed adrenals, chronic stress). Not only is it wholly dependent upon good mental and physical control, but many people report that it helps them to feel grounded, too. As those at c2b state, ‘when you’re truly connected, you really are the best you can be.’ If you want to experience this interconnectedness, then pilates should be on your list.
Holler! This girl just signed up for a 13-month contract at a yoga studio less than 2 blocks from my house. Yoga has taken the world by storm recently, and whilst it’s not really the most energetic of workouts, it really is a test of strength, flexibility, and mental prowess. Whether you’re taking part in a hot yoga class, or you’re just trying it out at home, there is no reason not to give this a try if you’re really looking to regain some control over your mind. There are plenty of yoga options out there! PS, stay-tuned as I share the progress I’ve made in my mind, business, relationships, and body after investing months of a solid yoga practice.
Walking is the secret sauce of blood sugar control. A slightly brisk stroll will lower blood sugar in type 1 diabetics by 1-2 mg/dL per minute. Many cultures (Italy) who engage in an after-dinner stroll have a lower BMI and I am sure the bonding over the leisure exercise enhances relationships. However, going for a long walk will help you to burn fat for energy, and it’s great for your fitness levels. On top of this, it allows you to reconnect with nature and it can really give you a chance to clear your head. Go for a walk, and think about all of the things that you appreciate!
Let me know which movement speaks to you the most.
In the modern world, we are exposed to many great things, but also a fishbowl of toxins. Parents are outliving their children due to modern diseases and morbidity and all of this can be turned around with the right education, awareness, and support. Being a healthy person is going to enrich so many areas of your life, and will make you feel as amazing as possible, as often as possible. Check out these hacks to help you improve your life today.
Hire a Help
If you are serious about getting healthier you need to understand that this sometimes requires a bit of help. That means you need to look at the possibility of hiring a dietician to help get your eating habits in order and understand health isn’t a matter of counting calories! Integrative dietitians can help keep you on the straight and narrow, give you meal plans, and even recommend healthy snacks.
Self-Care Means Self-Discipline
Healthy and positive living requires a level of discipline. There are a lot of factors that play a role in helping you to get into shape and maintain a healthy way of life, but you need to have that drive and determination to see this through. Try to do as much as you can to be more disciplined about health, well-being, and exercise, and use this to drive you toward greater success. Committing to a routine of sleep, meals and exercise requires an intention and assessment of what works for you and fits realistically in your lifestyle.
Hit the Gym
Living your best life is all about being proactive and understanding what needs to be improved and where you can work on making yourself better. Hitting the gym is definitely a great way to get the ball rolling because it allows you to enjoy plenty of top-of-the-range workout machines and equipment that can help you get fitter. Modern gyms are also packed with plenty of attractive classes and entertainment screens to help keep you occupied and engaged while working on getting fitter.
Improve Your Mental Health
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking your mental well-being when you try to improve your health (#selfcare). There are a handful of things to consider when you want to improve your mental health and well-being. Life can be pretty tough these days, and you need to go easy on yourself. One thing you can do to work on this is to talk to a professional about how you are feeling and issues you might be experiencing.
There are a lot of things that can contribute to improving your health, both physical and mental, and you have to come up with the best ways of achieving this for yourself. Make sure you look at what elements of your life you can change in order to ensure you improve your life in the right ways.
Our happiness is predetermined ~ 50% by genes. This leaves us with a huge opportunity to take action to smile, or want to smile, more often. Overall our brain is like a muscle, the more we influence happiness, the more likely or more easily it can be to attain. You see, happiness is part of a chemical process of neurons and dopamine receptors. If we don’t exercise doing things that enlighten our mood, those receptors can decrease with time and age.
Thankfully here we can hit 2 birds with one stone here! Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to improve mood. Not only can we look at activity for fitness, heart health, and weight loss, but overall we can improve our happiness and mental health too.
Therefore, maybe weight loss should move to way wayside, and overall mental and physical health should be capitalized? Not a bad idea and research proves that focusing on health, in general, is better and more productive than focusing on losing weight.
I have played soccer before and after my diagnosis, and crossfit 5-6 times per week. Crossfit keeps my blood sugar more level than soccer ever did! The most significant differences that I notice are overnight readings. My insulin sensitivity is very manageable as I am more aware working out… When I am not active or in the past when I have not been working out, it was much harder to notice my insulin sensitivities! Being active and staying fit has changed my life incredibly! My diabetes is pure motivation to get to the gym when I can hardly stand to do anything that day! It has really pushed me to have the desire to see within range blood sugar numbers and I know that being active is the only way I will accomplish that. Type 1 diabetes using the Medtronic 530g! Diagnosed for 10 years and 7 months!– Katelyn Partridge
I start every day with a 2-mile walk with my dog. Then after working 8 hours depending on the night I play racquetball, tennis, do Zumba or yoga. In the winter I ski on the weekends. In the spring and summer, I do distance cycling. Exercise has helped me lose weight, maintain decent blood sugar control and it makes me more sensitive to insulin. Besides that it makes me feel good. Omnipod pump and a Dexcom. Type 1, dxed May 1975. – Clare T. Fishman
I’ve been t1 for 24 years and got a Dexcom 2.5 years ago. It really helps with hiking. You can see a drop coming before it happens and eat some glucose to maintain nice flat lines. – Kate Sullivan
I was a competitive dancer most of my youth and started really working out again two years ago. It changed my life and I started to feel strong and empowered again—my insulin needs dropped from 75 units a day to 45 units a day and I’ve been on a pump for 14 years…as I realized I could workout with diabetes as I had a fear that it would hold me back I found a passion in running and have now completed 5ks, 10ks and working towards my first half marathon this spring! I realized when I believe in myself, I can do anything I set my mind to. Diagnosed with Type 1 on st patty’s day 1997. – Amanda Jolene Smith
Grew up racing BMX and mountain bikes nationally, competed in fitness competitions for a few years and now do CrossFit 4-5 times a week and stay active with my kids! Competing and exercising with diabetes can be tricky, but if you watch your patterns closely, with trial and error you can figure it out. Building muscle and staying consistent has been the best for me with managing diabetes! Also, this was crucial for two heathy pregnancies with diabetes too!Type 1 for 25 years since age 14, currently on Medtronic pump and CGM. – Allison Sigler MacKenzie
I make it a point to exercise at the gym at least 3 (but I shoot for 5) days a week, with “active rest days” the rest of the week. Anything more than a gentle walk means I have to take extra insulin, but it’s totally worth it. Besides the benefits to my physical health, I dervive huge mental health benefits, too. When living with a chronic disease, we have to take every opportunity we can to feel good about ourselves, and to feel strong. This is how I keep my head up, and keep going on. I’m looking forward to rocking the NEXT 31+ years, whether they find a cure, or not. I got this! T1 for 31 years (pump/CGM), and active for 2 years… – Dana Coltrinari Burke
I run 5-8 miles almost every day. On days I don’t run, my numbers are all over the place. I also do yoga and stretching almost everyday. The mental health benefits from the endorphin release and clearing of my mind is equally as important in managing this disease. Diagnosed 3.5 years ago, at age 51. I use both the Omnipod and a CGM. – Stacey Boehrer
I mostly run, 3-5 days a week. Running has helped me reduce the amount of insulin I need to take and makes me more fit, which in the long run will add years to my life. I was diagnosed at age 5, 33 years ago. I use an Omnipod pump and Dexcom G5 CGM. – Matt Barnett
“Control diabetes. Don’t let it control you” I had amazing parents who went through training and extreme patience when they first had to give me insulin and figure out the diet. We were an active family already so it was a little easier. Its crucial to have the support of your family and friends especially if newly diagnosed. It’s a complete lifestyle change! For those of us who’ve known nothing else it’s a little easier to transition through each phase. I tried the cgm for a week but due to the way the alarms were set, I went super high and super low due to overcorrections or overeating. For me it’s hard to change what’s been working- low carb meals, lots of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise includes walking the dogs, running, playing with the kids, swimming, tennis, basketball and whatever comes in front of me.Type I diabetic for 32 years- only on the pump for the past 7 years. My A1c has been between 5.7-6.5 for the past 10 years but my goal is to get it back to 6.0 or under. – Joella Davis
The formula for happiness is not the same for all of us, but figuring out what we enjoy is key. Go out and play and make time for personal play. When this is easier said than done, I make a gratitude list on paper or in my head, and quickly realize, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” Or at least overly stressed. 🙂
I honestly can’t think of a better slogan than Nike’s “Just Do It.” It eludes to many things, but simplifies the action for one to get up and go – run, sign up for a race, try something new, enjoy an active lifestyle, etc.
But what if they replaced the word “It” with exercise? Ahh, no bueno. Exercise feels like I am barking an order or a chore. So, how does any of this relate to you and I? Yes, well done Nike, but the point I want to make is when we think about exercise or talk about it, or even put it on our to-do list, we need to keep it positive. And what ticks for one, may not tick for all.
For me – I like to label my exercise as a workout or hobby. And what lies under this changes just as does our mood and the season. I talk about this often with my nutrition clients, so can easily recall what I’ve enjoyed over the last dozen months. I fully embraced tennis as soon as I could postpartum with my first. Man did it make me feel like a teenager again. And the gals I did a weekly class with, made me feel like I was on a team! It was awesome, and indeed I credit my 90 minute tennis lesson per week to my decent shape of running Chicago’s 10 miler in May 2014. Next though, I wanted to move on so I didn’t lose the enjoyment of tennis and fully engaged in pilates and soaked up yoga. Come Fall, I fell pregnant and the strict and intense pilates teacher told me to move onto something else until I had better technique or no bun in the oven. One, I can’t be perfect at everything right?! At least I was trying something new. And, two, I wasn’t going to let this push-back hold me back from being active. Next, I joined aqua aerobics. And guess what, I loved it so much I got my AFAA Group Fitness Certification in March so I can teach it post arrival of baby #2. All things happen for a reason, eh? Nonetheless, you can see I participated in a variety of activities and I believe this is one tactic to be successful in enjoying an active lifestyle. While there is more, keep this in mind.
Making ourselves move is showing up for our health and loving ourselves. The benefits are many, as are the excuses to not do it. But, Just Do It. Find something new and pull along a friend to make you more committed to be active.
At 33 weeks pregnant, riding on some strong insulin resistance (type 1 diabetes for 2 decades plus) in my third trimester, I am still pumping iron, attending spin classes, restorative yoga and core courses. Are there challenges to being active, especially with moving blood sugars and kicking baby? Yes, but pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone brings numerous benefits and happiness.
With diabetes, even pregnancy, I am taking extra measure in what I am eating, how well I am hydrated and monitoring blood sugars, but I am still out there. Are you? Everyone has different things that maybe challenging their physical fitness, but let’s engage, move, set goals and motivate one another.
If you fall into the pregnancy or diabetes camp, I have some tips to offer, yet I am not a pro. As well, I have included motivators for anyone looking to move their body:
TRYING A NEW ACTIVITY – STAYING MOTIVATED TO MOVE – BEING YOUR FITTEST
Variety. As eluded select a number of things that sound interesting to you and sprinkle sessions of such over your calendar for the next month. These activities do not have to be in a gym setting either. One thing I always try to plant on our weekend agenda is a bike ride. Beyond something that looks like exercise, broaden your brainstorm to dance lessons, putt putt with a date and more. A great trend here in Chicago is something call ClassPass. Heard of it? It’s growing into numerous other cities, but instead having to have a membership to one type of studio like Core Power or Bikram yoga, it gives you access to a diverse offering for one flat rate. It’s quite genius I think.
Budget. Memberships and personal training can definitely stack up and if this expense isn’t a priority, seek low cost or free things. Since I have been modifying so much in my classes, I have created some of my own workouts and have used Pinterest to help me with a plan. It’s too easy to do the same. One practice I do, is find a workout I like and take a picture of it on my phone, as shown below, and pull it up when I am ready to break a sweat.
Efficacy. Being our fittest doesn’t mean the more the better. It’s easy to overdo exercise, just know your limits and when you start to show signs of too much ie. fatigue, poor recovery, soreness, amenorrhea in extreme cases, etc.
DIABETES + ACTIVITY
Move – start small and measure. When I had my son Declan, it took a great deal to feel the edge to want to engage in anything more than walking. So I started small; like real small. Instead of giving myself a deadline to get to the gym, I told myself I had to do 5 pushups a day. Not only was this goal small enough for me to easily engage in the objective, but I often did more than 5 pushups. Over the following weeks, I started doing more weight bearing movements and then went to a class. An easy class too. With each enhancement I also kept an eye on my blood sugar. I test before and after activity, and if I sign up for a class, I also avoid large boluses of insulin before the engagement. This helps prevent hypoglycemia and I am better able to predict what my blood sugar is going to do. Also, in a perfect world, I try to place activity before a meal, so if I didn’t use a large enough temporary basal on my pump, I’d already have a plan to eat after. Depending on the activity and the duration I will take my pump off or at a minimum use a temp basal of 80%. What I decide to do, also varies with the time of day. In the AM I need a smaller temp basal or none at all, verse the evening, I am more insulin sensitive. Everyone is different so be sure to test, measure and not guess for yourself.
Food – As mentioned, I try to have a meal planned post activity, but this isn’t always the case. Pre-activity if I need something, I will have a handful of nuts any maybe some berries. Overall something lower in carbohydrate to keep active insulin low. Depending on the intensity and what my starting blood sugar is, this can all change. If I was about to do some low stress cardio (running, swimming, non-sprint biking) I’d maybe grab a Raw bar mini. (And I have no ties w/ this product, they just work with my blood sugar really well).
Test, don’t guess. I test preworkout every time and post. Even when I know I am low, I will still test to know exactly how much I should treat to put me back at a good level. I have learned the hard way of consuming too many carbs then putting myself of a roll-coaster cycle. What works for me will vary with anyone else. Some of my go-tos include fruit leathers and Kind bars. I will first have the leather and then followup with carbohydrate that is combined with protein and fat. What do you use?
PREGNANCY + ACTIVITY
Boundaries. Know your boundaries and trust your intuition. You don’t want to engage in a new activity once you are pregnant, and a positive pregnancy test doesn’t meant to freeze the gym membership. While walking is wonderful pre and postnatal, and all around, so is weights and breaking a sweat. This is a good article to understand more advice on being active while brewing a baby.