How long should I exercise?
Duration is the length of time you spend doing something. In the following post I am focusing on cardiovascular exercises however it relates to resistance and flexibility training. If you are just starting a workout program then you don’t want to burn yourself out and get discouraged by going full force – potentially injuring yourself. Establish a baseline on which you can build.
Pace yourself. Set realistic goals – how long do I need to exercise to reach those goals? For example, it could be to workout for 30 minutes, 4 to 5 days per week.
Ideally, you should work at about 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate as discussed in another post. These thirty minutes should not include warmup or cool-down.
The thirty minutes of cardio should be done continuously, however they can be broken up into segments of 2 fifteen minute sessions or even three ten minute sessions. The American College of Sports Medicine does recommend at least 30 minutes. Your eventual goal is to increase the intensity, through interval training, for thirty continuous minutes each session.
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Unless you are an elite athlete you should only put in those thirty minutes once for the day. . . not ‘two-a-days’ like football players or other professional athletes do.
How much is too much?
One of my workout partners who is also a diabetic will do up to an hour of cardiovascular exercises by splitting time between the treadmill and the bicycle or some other cardio equipment. He does this several days per week and is able to keep his glucose level in the normal range with little or no medication.
He can get the same cardio benefits if he were to cut that time by a half. Long steady state cardio is not necessary since excessive cardio can be counterproductive. It works for him and since he enjoys doing extended cardio routines I don’t discourage him.
I don’t recommend long cardiovascular exercises for everyone because your body is very adaptable. If you cut back on the amount cardio or decide to do some other form of exercise, it can affect your blood glucose and hence all your diabetic test results.
There is a delicate balance between high and low sugar levels. An increase or decrease in cardio routine should be done gradually to avoid the dangers of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.
How often should I exercise?
Frequency is the number of times in a given period that you do your workout routine. For example, doing resistance or weight training exercises three times per week and walking or jogging five days each week would be considered your exercise frequency.
If your goal is to lose weight to control your glucose level then you will need to start by walking 30 minutes per day, five days each week. You will eventually graduate from walking to jogging for those 30 minutes each day. Jogging is ok for a time, but to get the best weight loss benefit you will eventually need to start doing interval training three days per week and continue with regular cardio on the other two days.
The benefits of aerobics exercises drops off quickly if you decide to stop. It’s important to continue with your routine so as not to lose the mental and physical rewards that exercise can give you.
You will be amazed at how you will look and feel in six weeks if you stay consistent and control your diet. Remember . . . for something to become a habit, whether good or bad, you need to do it for about three consecutive weeks. Hopefully, you will strive to make some form of physical activity a daily routine which can develop into a good habit for years to come.
To a healthier you,