Most important? Get started!

The majority of people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are overweight. To control your diabetes, you will have to lose weight. Losing weight means you will have to follow a healthy diet and exercise daily. Losing weight means decreasing the number of calories that your body takes in and stores as fat; 80% of this decrease will come from controlling what you eat and 20% from exercise. Preventing fat storage is easier than removing it! To make this happen you have to set yourself daily, weekly, monthly, and 3-month goals. A reasonable weight loss goal is 1 lb/week. I've adopted the principles of the Zone diet and this alone has helped bring my blood glucose levels under control and I've started to lose weight. My next step is to adopt an exercise program.

Before starting an exercise program get a full medical examination and review the ADA safety tips.

Why exercise and what happens to your blood suger...

  • Regular exercise will help you lose weight and lower your average blood glucose level
  • Regular exercise will enable your body to use insulin better
  • Regular exercise will reduce your need for medication
  • Regular exercise will help you feel good

How much and what kind of exercise...

How much you need to exercise depends on your age, present fitness level, and physical limitations. Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Select an exercise activity that will help you burn 300 calories/day and a maximum of 2000 calories/week (see the table below). Begin slowly and build up your stamina. It doesn't matter what time-of-day you exercise. My blood glucose is high first thing in the morning, so I plan, but don't always succeed, to exercise when I get out of bed.

Always check your blood glucose level before and after any exercise. Be aware of how you feel when your blood glucose level is low or high. Eat a Zone-balanced snack 30-minutes before you exercise if your blood glucose level is below 5mmol/L (90 mg/dl). Don't exercise if your blood glucose level is above 17mmol/L (306 mg/dl). Eat a Zone-balanced snack or meal immediately after you exercise.

Calculate your maximum heart rate using the formula, MaxHeartRate = 220-YourAge. Exercise at a level where your HeartRate is between 60-80% of your MaxHeartRate and until you've burned 300 calories. The actual time required to burn 300 calories will depend on the type of exercise, your weight, and your gender. Remember, these figures: to lose 1 lb of fat you need to reduce your calories by 3500 and the ideal body fat percentages are 15% for males and 22% for females. See the Zone Nutrition Center to calculate your daily calorie intake requirements and current body fat percentage.

Minutes Required for a Male to Burn 300 calories
(females add 32%)
Activity
Weight (lbs)
< 130
130-149
150-170
>170
Aerobics
51
45
39
35
Badminton (singles)
53
46
40
36
Bicycling/Stationary bike
47
41
36
32
Golf
80
69
61
55
Housecleaning
86
74
66
58
Jogging/Running slowly
31
27
24
21
Mowing lawn/Gardening
64
56
49
44
Rowing/Rowing machine
29
25
22
20
Snow sking (downhill)
47
41
36
33
Snow sking (cross country)
38
33
29
26
Snow shoveling
52
45
40
35
Swimming
35
30
27
24
Walking briskly/Hiking
53
46
40
36
Washing car
68
59
52
47
Weight training/Soccer
45
39
34
31

Hardest part of exercise...

Getting started! DO IT! Start today. Some suggestions that may help:

  • Exercise with a friend
  • Choose an exercise you like
  • Look for opportunities to walk
  • Start your exercise program slowly
  • Schedule a time to exercise every day
  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot (I've started doing this; a bonus is that I can always find a parking spot!)
  • Walk up and down stairs instead of using the elevator (I've started doing this as well)

Updated: February 14, 2007