Next time you’re looking for a fun activity to do with the family, why not skip the movies and hit your local community swimming pool or skating rink instead? Or, at this time of year, go for a walk in the country to admire the changing colours of the leaves.
Committing to making a few small, simple changes to your diet and exercise routines can not only cut your risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 per cent, they will also make healthy living a pleasure rather than a chore. Just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week (150 minutes of exercise per week) and a five to 10 per cent reduction in body weight can make a big difference to reducing diabetes risks.
Registered dietitian Sharon Zeiler, senior manager of diabetes education and nutrition at the Canadian Diabetes Association, has some suggestions:
Schedule it in
“The same as you would plan piano lessons or a visit to the salon, plan your half hour of physical activity five days a week,” says Ms. Zeiler. The exercise should be moderate to vigorous; for example, walking at a speed where you can still carry on a conversation but are getting your body moving.
Plan your diet, too
Start by following Canada’s Food Guide. Make sure that half of your grains are whole grains, and add dairy products rich in calcium. Perhaps most importantly, make sure that fully half your plate is made up of fruits and vegetables. Save money by looking for ways to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your menus, such as serving apples or squash in the fall.
Watch your portions
“When I was growing up, dinner plates were 8.5 to 9 inches wide, but they’re now 10.5 inches,” says Ms. Zeiler. That’s a visual reminder of how much portion sizes have grown, so make sure you’re controlling serving sizes when you dish up a meal. A quick reminder for meat: a serving is generally the size of a deck of cards.
While it’s essential to schedule exercise, another way to get more fitness into your day is to find impromptu opportunities to be more active. “If you only have to go a couple of flights, take the stairs instead of the elevator,” says Ms. Zeiler. “Park in the farthest spot from the store when you get your groceries. It’s about thinking of how to get more activity into your days.”
For more tips and information visit diabetes.ca.