Physical activity has many benefits for your health if you have diabetes and/or heart disease. Being active can help prevent both of these diseases. Check your activity IQ with the following quiz. Answer true or false to the questions below, then read on to see the answers.
- Regular physical activity can reduce my chances of getting both diabetes and heart disease.
- Most people get enough physical activity from their normal daily routines.
- I don’t have to train like a marathon runner to become physically fit.
- Physical activity doesn’t have to take a lot of time for me to benefit from it.
- Only those who need to lose weight will benefit from regular physical activity.
- Physical activity can help me maintain my weight loss better than it can help me lose the weight in the first place.
- People who have diabetes and are on medication that can cause low blood glucose should take some precautions when they do physical activity.
- Most people injure themselves when they exercise.
- You should consult your health care provider before you start a physical activity program.
- TRUE. Research shows that people who are not active are almost twice as likely to get heart disease. Also, those who are not active are more likely to get type 2 diabetes.
- FALSE. Most Americans are very busy, but being busy doesn’t mean that you get enough physical activity. Most Americans don’t. Every American adult should get a total of 30 minutes of physical activity each day. That means it can be 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, or a 15-minute walk and 15 minutes in your garden, or playing basketball or catch with your children or grandchildren. If you are not active now, get started by doing a few minutes of activity each day. Choose to do the activities you enjoy, and don’t strain yourself, particularly when you are just starting out.
- TRUE. Activities, such as leisure walking, stair climbing, housework, dancing, gardening or using an exercise videotape are terrific forms of physical activity. They can have both short- and long-term benefits. If you are inactive, your first step is to get started now.
- TRUE. It takes only a few minutes a day to become more physically active. If you don’t have 30 minutes in your schedule for an exercise break, try to find two 15-minute periods or even three 10-minute periods. Start with a few things that are easy for you to do, such as taking a walk for 10 or 15 minutes during your lunch break or parking your car at the far end of the parking lot to get an extra five minutes of activity.
- FALSE. Whether your goal is to stay at your current weight or to lose weight, everyone can benefit from physical activity. Besides burning extra calories, regular physical activity gives you more energy, tones your muscles, helps your heart and lungs work better, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better. This is true for people at any weight.
- TRUE. While it is certainly important for you to be physically active while you are losing weight, research shows that physical activity is even more important to help keep the weight off. So, don’t stop being physically active once you reach your weight loss goal. This is actually the time to try even harder to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Being physically active gives you the best chance of keeping that weight off.
- TRUE. Some diabetes medications can cause blood glucose to drop too low if you are more physically active than usual and don’t eat enough food to raise your blood glucose. This is true for insulin you take by injection and for medications called sulfonylureas, which go by the generic names glyburide, glipizide and glimiperide. If your blood glucose is at or less than 100 mg/dL before you are active, you should eat some carbohydrates. Try a piece of fruit, a few crackers or eight ounces of milk. If you will be active for a long time, you may want to carry some food with you. You should also check your blood glucose after you exercise. Your body burns off more calories even after you finish your activity.
- FALSE. Most people benefit from and enjoy physical activity. But the most common risk in exercising is injury to the muscles and joints. This is usually caused by exercising too hard for too long, particularly if a person has been inactive for a while. To avoid injuries, try to build up your level of activity slowly and listen to your body for warning signs (usually pain). You should also be aware of possible signs of heart problems, such as pain or pressure in the left- or mid chest area, left-neck, left shoulder or left arm during or just after exercising. The signs also include sudden light-headedness, cold sweats or fainting.
- TRUE. The American Diabetes Association suggests that all people with diabetes get an OK from their health care provider before they begin (or greatly increase) their physical activity. Your provider will want to review your medical history and do a physical exam, which will focus on the health of your heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, feet and nervous system.
If you are at risk for heart disease, your health care provider may want to perform some exercise tests to make sure you can increase your activity safely. Talk with your health care provider before you start to exercise if you have diabetes and can put a check mark next to one or more of the following, which put you at risk for heart disease:
- You are older than 35.
- You are older than 25 and have had type 2 diabetes for more than 10 years or type 1 diabetes for more than 15 years.
- You have other risk factors for heart disease, such as a history of heart attack, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- You have signs of eye or kidney disease from diabetes.
- You have problems with circulation in your legs, feet or hands.
- You have diabetes related nerve problems.