In the first few posts about gestational diabetes, we talked about glucose monitoring and diet. The next important step to take is, literally, a step. Several of them, in fact. (I’m talking about exercise, in case you didn’t see where I was going with that.)
Make exercise a part of your day
Unless you have been placed at bed rest for some reason, you need to make exercise a part of your day. Why? Because exercise burns fat and glucose. Burning fat helps control weight gain in pregnancy. And burning glucose helps your liver release its glucose stores, and makes your pancreas reduce insulin production. This process helps keep your blood glucoses in the normal range.
For a long time, what stopped me from exercising was the thought that l was so overweight and out of shape that I would have to sweat for an hour every day to see any results. The mere idea of an exercise program exhausted and discouraged me.
You, too? I thought so.
Small changes make a big difference
How did I (and how can you) overcome inertia and resistance? By recognizing that small changes make a BIG difference. Exercise physiologists and medical experts confirm that even five minutes of daily activity can make us healthier. In other words, any activity is better than no activity at all. Who doesn’t have five minutes? And once you start, five minutes frequently turns into more.
Here are some five-minute ideas to get you started.
- Put your favorite tune on your iPod and dance. Shake it!
- Park in the last row at the grocery store and walk in. You can have the bagger schlep your grocery bags back to the car if you want.
- Walk once around the block. Take along your spouse, dog, or child. Some of the best conversations happen in these times away from the house. Or some of the best quiet time, if you’re alone.
- Use TV commercials. Do 20 leg lifts on each side, or lunge down the hall and back, or drop and give me ten push-ups (on your knees, or even leaning against a wall). Just get up and move.
- One flight of stairs.
If you feel ambitious, set a bigger goal – swim if you have access to a pool, walk in a park or in your neighborhood with a group of friends, take a class (many programs will let you try a class for free). Just remember, all you have to do is five minutes a day. No excuses. And that five minutes WILL make a difference – in your blood sugars, in your endurance, in your confidence.
Encouragement and resources
After this baby comes, you will have more energy, and you will have started a lifelong habit of fitness.
A couple of really great resources for you are the blog Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. He writes about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of life. And I also really love the website Fit Pregnancy. Find lots of in-depth articles about how to exercise for every trimester.