We’re now starting Block 2 in the program, which is focused on increasing physical activity in a way that you enjoy and can stick with.
How physical activity helps
Being active helps to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. So you might be asking, how does being more physically active actually do that? There are two ways that being active helps to prevent Type 2 diabetes. First, being active can help you lose weight, and weight loss is a key part of avoiding diabetes. Calories are a measure of energy that you get from food and drinks.The more active that you are, the more calories your body will burn which can result in weight loss.
Second, getting active can lower your blood sugar, not just during and immediately after you are active but throughout the day. That’s because physical activity helps make your cells better able to use insulin, which moves the blood sugar out of the blood and into the cells. During the activity itself, your body moves sugar from the blood into cells, lowering your blood sugar.
Being more physically active doesn’t only help you avoid Type 2 diabetes. It also helps you feel better and get healthier in lots of ways. Some of its benefits include:
- Better sleep and mood
- Improved balance and flexibility
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Lower risk of heart attack and stroke
- Lower stress level
- More energy
- Stronger muscles
As you know, each week you’ll be working towards at least 150 minutes of activity at a moderate pace or more, such as getting 30 minutes per day five days a week. For most people, about 4,000 steps at a moderate pace or more will translate into about 30 minutes of activity. You can also log activity other than walking or running in the Brook app. It may take you a while to reach the 150 minutes per week goal but if you make small changes over time, you’ll get there! It does not matter what your current activity level is – just start wherever you are! If you can, aim to get 60 minutes of activity in this week.
The Talk Test
The goal in this program is to be active at a moderate pace or more. One good way to know if you’re being active at a moderate pace is to do the Talk Test. That means you are working hard enough that you can’t sing but not so hard that you can’t talk. Let’s try the Talk Test right now. Follow me while I march in place. Go ahead, march in place while you watch this video and talk aloud about the activities you want to try. Make sure you can talk – but not sing – while you march. You can hold onto a chair for support if you wish, or if marching while standing is too difficult, you can march while seated. The point is just to get those muscles moving! Great marching! You can stop now.
There are so many great ways to get active so you should be able to find at least one that you like. People often ask us “Which activity is the BEST to do?” The answer is simple: do whatever you enjoy doing and can stick with! It’s far better to work any type of physical activity into your life multiple times per week than to pick something that you just won’t be able to stick with. Here are some options:
- Climbing stairs
- Doing yard work
- Jumping rope
- Lifting weights
- Walking briskly
And remember the Talk Test as you consider them. Will you be able to talk but not able to sing when you do it?
Reviewed by Emily Matson, MS, RDN
on June 22, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.