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Move it to improve it: Exercise for your health

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UPDATED: 10.13.15

CONTACT: UAB HealthSmart

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Regular exercise can improve your overall health and reduce your risk for chronic conditions. You need 2 types of physical activity in order to better your health, aerobic and muscle strengthening.

Aerobic exercise or “cardio” can be activities such as jogging, bike riding, water aerobics, or pushing a lawn mower. Muscle-strengthening exercises include things like lifting weights, using resistance bands, yoga, or heavy gardening.

It is recommended that you get at least 150 mins of moderate intensity aerobic activity, (meaning you can talk, but not sing), and at least 2 days of muscle strengthening activity.

Try these tips to get your started:

Find a friend and schedule a time to exercise.
Exercise in bouts of 10 minutes at a time, if needed.
Warm up and cool down for 5-10 minutes before and after your workout.
Don’t forget to stretch major muscle groups, holding each for 10-30 seconds.
Write down how long you exercised and what you did.
Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
Examine your feet and wear shoes that fit well.
Check your glucose before and after you exercise.
Do some muscle strengthening during TV commercial breaks.
Take a brisk walk for 10 minutes before lunch or after dinner.
Pretend the elevator is out of service and take the stairs.
Wear a pedometer and aim for 8,000-10,000 steps/day.
Park at least 10 cars away from the store.
If you don’t have equipment, use canned goods or water bottles for strength training.
Join UAB HealthSmart for FREE fitness classes such as Zumba®, WALK…Feel Alive, and Absolute 30 Total Body Fitness.

A blood sugar of 100- 250 mg/dL is safe for exercise participation. If pre-exercise blood sugar is below 100 mg/dL, eat 1-2 servings of carbohydrates (20-30 grams). It could be a 5-6 peanut butter sandwich crackers or a medium apple with a slice of cheese. When blood sugar is above 250 mg/dL, exercise should be postponed due to possible ketone development. Know your numbers before you exercise.

Figure out what you like to do and have FUN!

Written by: Terrilyn Stephens, MPH, AFAA-CPT, CES. Terrilyn Stephens, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist.