August Exercise of the Month
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” This quote by M.J. Bobak rings true in every venture of life. Graduating high school, going to college or going to work, buying a home, starting a family – all these aspects and more are outside of our comfort zones to some degree. The same can be said of our level of fitness. Priscilla Welch, 1984 Olympic runner, was a pack-a-day smoker before starting her running career. In 2000, Tom Brady was picked 199th in the NFL draft. Greatness lives within the unexpected. No matter who you are, your journey can lead to greatness. All you’ve got to do is step out of your comfort zone.
Beyond the normal day-to-day events, our health can really throw a wrench into things. Maybe stepping out of your comfort zone looks like exercising through illness. I don’t mean exercising through the flu. If you have a fever, maybe chill out and drink some Gatorade. There are many conditions that can affect your exercise capabilities or may require special awareness during your fitness journey. An example could be diabetes. Diabetics need to pay careful attention when planning for their daily dose of exercise due to their condition. Let’s look at how to step out of our comfort zone and specifically at some things to take into account with those facing exercise with diabetes.
Timing can be very important when starting your exercise journey, especially if you have a chronic condition. We live in a very hot and humid climate for what seems like 11 months out of the year. Planning your exercise routine according to the weather can be crucial. For health conditions like diabetes, ACSM states, “Early morning exercise, in particular, may result in elevations in blood glucose levels instead of the usual decrease with moderate activity.” Some of you are already saying that mornings are not your friend. If you aren’t a morning person, then breaking out of your comfort zone may look like getting up ten minutes earlier to go on a walk before you start the day. It doesn’t have to be this incredibly unattainable time. Small goals lead to big results.
Choosing what type of exercise to perform is important as well. For those who are just joining us, you need to incorporate cardiorespiratory, resistance, and flexibility training into your week. Stop your sighing – you are going to be okay. Your day could look like a ten minute-walk before work, three ten-minute breaks throughout the day to do some body weight squats at your desk, and a ten-minute walk with the kiddos after dinner followed by some light stretching. “It’s more important to be consistently good, rather than occasionally great.” says, Jeff Cunningham. If you are a diabetic, ACSM states, “Completing resistance training (strength) prior to aerobic training (cardio) may lower the risk of postexercise hypoglycemia.”
The CDC states, “Overall, in the United States from 2017 to 2020, the prevalence of physical inactivity was 25.3%.” Further in the CDC’s publishing it shows a state percentage. South Carolina had a 27.6% physical inactivity prevalence. Let’s look a little deeper. In 2020, South Carolina’s population size was 5.092 million people. If 27.6% of those people are inactive, that means 1.405 million people were inactive. You should have your shocked face on right now. ACSM states, “The interruption of sedentary time, via increasing overall physical activity as well as through multiple bouts of activity, is beneficial for glycemic control.” This is true of the healthy 20-year-old and the 72-year-old diabetic. Cut out your sitting time and get moving.
What does decreasing sedentary time look like? For every 30 minutes of sitting, get up and move for two minutes. That is the place to begin, folks! Set reminders on your phone. There are apps that will alarm you every thirty minutes. Walk around and check on your coworkers. Walk up and down the stairs. Go on a restroom break at the furthest restroom from your desk. Get up during television commercials and move. Decrease your sitting time and increase your moving time. Set a goal to build to. It may look like a walk for five minutes every day and slowly building to thirty minutes a day.
Choose today to make better health decision for your future. If you are young, choose to be healthier for your future family. If you are in the thick of parenthood, choose to instill healthy habits in your kids. If you’re a grandparent or a soon to be grandparent, fight for a healthy and long life to see your great grandkids. Set a goal, set a reason or drive for the goal, and work! Small goals lead to big results. I believe in you! Get up and get moving! Please reach out to me with any questions or if you need any help at email@example.com.
Kayla Thompson is a diabetes care navigator at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence and is a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has a Master of Science in clinical exercise science.