Aerobic exercise (also known cardiovascular exercise, or cardio) includes any activity that involves large muscle groups, increases both the breathing rate and the heart rate, and is repetitive can be considered aerobic. Aerobic exercise can be defined by the level of effort put forth in the exercise (high, moderate, and low).
For individuals with diabetes, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate to vigorous activity three to seven days a week. Moderate exercise would be defined as any exercise level you can maintain while able to carry on a conversation. You don’t want to be panting and out of breath, but you don’t want to have the ability to yell at the top of your lungs either. The amount of time recommend is 150 minutes over the course of a week (somewhere between 20-60 minutes an exercise session). For some ideas on aerobic exercise, see below.
Start slow. Although the recommendation might be 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, no one would expect you to begin 150 minutes the first week. Start off with a five-minute walk in the evening for three nights the first week. Then in the second week, keep the walk the asame length of time but increase it to five nights. Then in the third week, increase the length of each walk to eight minutes (and so on….)
Remember to have a warmup and cool down. If you are going to engage in activity, you need to have a warmup and a cool down. See here for more information on why.
Pay attention to your body. If you feel some aches and pains the following day, its ok to skip a day. Remember that your body needs time to adapt.
Do not exercise if you are sick. Take the time off to recuperate and then begin again slowly. Ease back into the level you were at over a period of week or two.
Choose clothing and shoes designed for that type of activity and be sure to replace shoes if needed.