Being active – Developing a healthy habit

Being active has many health benefits! Not only can it help you feel better, strengthen your heart and help you fit into the clothes you bought last year, but it can also help you prevent diabetes. Studies show being active for 150 minutes a week, along with a modest weight loss for those who need it, decreased the risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

There’s not one specific activity that you need to do. A great activity is walking, but there are plenty of other activities you can do in case walking is not the best for you. Chair activities, swimming, biking, dancing or even cleaning your home can all give you some activity minutes.  Most people are encouraged to do an activity at a moderate pace. One way to decide if your activity is moderate is to perform the talk test. In general, if you’re doing a moderate-intensity activity, you can talk but not sing during the activity.

Some people are overwhelmed with the thought of finding the time to be active. As with all new habits, it may take some time to develop a routine. Set goals of gradually increasing activity time. For example, being active for 60 minutes during the week may be more realistic when you first start. Just think, that is about eight and a half minutes a day! Once you accomplish that, try to increase your goal by 30 minutes each week until you reach your goal of 150 minutes.

If you are struggling to get your minutes in, take some time to figure out what your challenges are. Think about what solutions might work. Try one and see if it worked. If it did, great. If it didn’t, try another solution.

Need more help? The UofL Health Diabetes Prevention Program is a year long program to help give you the skills you need to lose weight, be more active and manage stress. A trained lifestyle coach facilitates the sessions and you will gain support from other participants that share your goals.  For more information, call 502-588-4499.

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About Beth Ackerman, R.D.

Beth Ackerman is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator at the UofL Physicians – Diabetes and Obesity Center. Beth is on the team of educators of the ADA-approved diabetes education team at UofL Physicians. She has counseled people with diabetes for more than 25 years. Ackerman serves as the Diabetes Prevention Program Workgroup co-chair for the Kentucky Diabetes Network and volunteers at Camp Hendon, a diabetes camp for children.

All posts by Beth Ackerman, R.D.