Ten Suggestions for Starting a Walking or Jogging Program

1. Have a complete medical examinationand obtain your physician’s approval beforestarting an exercise program. This is evenmore important if you have never exercisedor if you want to increase the intensity ofyour workouts.

2.Consult with your diabetes educatorabout exercising safely. If your diabetestreatment plan includes insulin therapyor oral medications that increase insulinproduction, such as sulfonylureas, Prandin orStarlix, learn how to prevent hypoglycemiaby adjusting your insulin dosages or eatingsnacks that contain carbohydrate. If youtake medications for your diabetes thatcould cause hypoglycemia, be prepared totreat low blood glucose episodes by alwayscarrying glucose tablets. Be sure to stayhydrated and carry a water bottle with you.And always wear your medical identification.

3.Get a good pair of running shoes that fityou well and are comfortable. If possible,get fitted for shoes at a store that specializesin fitting runners. Running shoes shouldusually be a half or full size larger than yourstreet shoes to allow enough room for anyswelling and prevent blisters. A good pairof shoes will help prevent frustrating andpainful injuries. Expect to pay at least $75,but consider this price an investment in yourfeet, your knees and other joints as well asyour overall health.

4.Allow enough time to enjoy your walkor jog. You will need at least one hour,including a 10- to 15-minute warm-up, a30-minute walk or jog (work up to this levelgradually) and a 5- to 10-minute cool-down.

5.Listen to your body. Know when you needto slow down or take a day off .

6.Try to alternate harder days with easierones, and take a full day off each weekfor rest and recovery. The more times youexercise each week, the sooner you developa healthy habit and achieve results.

7.Plan your course beforehand, keepingweather and terrain in mind. Begin yourjog or walk into the wind and end up withthe wind to your back, especially when itis cold. Jog at a running track or on dirt orasphalt running and bike paths; don’t run onsidewalks, as concrete is much harder thanasphalt and is too jarring to the joints.

8.Dress appropriately. Wear light-coloredclothing at night or attach reflective strips toyour clothing and shoes. Clip a red bicyclelight to your jacket. In hot and humidweather, the less clothes you can wear, thebetter. In cold weather, dress in layers thatcan be zipped off as your body temperaturerises. The new high-tech fabrics used forworkout clothing are great at keepingyou dry and comfortable in warm or coldconditions.

9.Jog and walk defensively. Watch out forcars, potholes, dogs and their contributions,ice, mud and other hazards. Carry a fewdollars, your identification and your cellphone for emergencies.

10.Set reasonable weekly goals and try toachieve them. Keeping a daily exercise logcan help you meet your exercise goals.

Q.I can’t walk or run for 30 consecutive minutes. What should I doso I can eventually reach 30 minutes?

A.First of all, you can derive health and fitness benefits from three10-minute sessions of exercise, so don’t beat yourself up if youcannot go for 30 minutes at a stretch. One technique is to add oneto two minutes per week to your exercise, up to 30 minutes. It’simportant to discuss this with your physician to be sure it is safe foryou.

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