Be Well by Linda King

Diagnosed with Diabetes ... Now What?

I live on the east coast, although I'm from the Seattle area and my family lives out there still. A while back my mom sent me a photograph, and I had to flip it over to see the names of the people pictured on the front. One was my brother.  He had become so overweight, and so old looking, I didn't recognize him! I called immediately and asked him what, if anything, was he doing to improve his health. Fast-forward a year or two. My mom called me to inform me that my brother had passed.  That's when I turned his story into my inspiration to do everything I could to help others not meet the same fate.

You have Type II diabetes.  Chances are you are overweight.  Your doctor has ordered you to start exercising.  If you are out of shape and/or overweight, any exercise program should begin with an assessment by a certified professional trainer.  During that assessment the trainer should be looking at your posture, gait, joint movement, as well as overall physical abilities.  Once you've been assessed, the real work begins.

Many people experience hip and knee pain with even the simplest of movements. When you're starting out with exercises, it's best to do low-impact or no-impact moves as well as exercises done while seated, like body-weight leg lifts.  It's a good idea to add stretching, too.

Often people with diabetes also experience numbness in their extremities.  For this reason it is advised to stay away from free-weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells.  Your best bet,
once you can begin using resistance, is either machines (the gym is full of those), or bands.  I always recommend starting light, and slowly working up to heavier weights and bands.

If you're able, do some light walking on the treadmill, or better yet, a rowing machine.  This is a great way to elevate your heart-rate and burn fat.  More importantly, a rowing machine increases your range of motion, with very little stress on the knees.

The key here is to take your time.  It took you a long time to develop diabetes, and it'll take awhile to reverse its effects.  Be in this for the long game, and allow yourself time and patience to get where you want to be.

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