Life Isn’t A Spectator Sport

It can be pretty tough finding the motivation to get moving. Light knows, it takes me several minutes for the signal to go from my brain to getting a response from my body when it comes to waking up in the morning. And if I didn’t start my day with a pinch of caffeine, I believe that the world would be in genuine danger. Which is likely a problem, since being that dependent on coffee can’t be a good thing, but I’ll tackle that problem some other day.

My point is, it usually feels “easier” to sit still than to get going. This is a natural inclination, much like choosing to go through a tunnel as opposed to climbing over the hill. But all things in life require a balance, and sitting still can be as harmful on the body as pushing yourself too far. This is why frequent and even daily physical activity is an important part of daily life, whether you have Diabetes or not.

According to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic (one of my favourite websites), a person should aim to achieve 150 minutes of moderate exercise or at least 75 minutes of intense exercise, with about two workouts a week contributed to strength training. I like how the article describes mowing the lawn as a moderate aerobic exercise. I’ll definitely start adding those sessions to my training log.

But those are American sources and since I’m in Canada, it would be nice to lean on a source from my home turf. An exercise guideline chart posted by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology outlines pretty much the same basic requirement of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week in adults, with at least two days contributed to some sort of strength training. Although the “minimum” should include 10 to 20 minutes of physical activity or more, you should aim at hitting that 30-minute mark in order to reap the greater benefits.

So what happens if you don’t get enough exercise? The reality is that with everyone working from home and even before the pandemic, the average person finds themselves sitting far too much for far too long. This can have a number of nasty side effects on your heart, your weight, your back and even your mental health. But with all of us cooped up in our homes, many are tempted to flop down on the couch and binge-watch their favourite streaming services for days on end. This doesn’t just lead to the above-mentioned complications, but will also undo any physical conditioning you may have been doing prior to that.

Balance, people! Find the happy medium. If you’re doing work, especially in front of a computer screen, it’s important to get up out of your seat, stretch and move around. You should be doing this a minimum of at least once every hour. Although I wasn’t able to find a source for that interval, this is what has always been suggested to me. And if you have a boss that gives you hell because you’re getting up from your seat too often, check with your HR department on what your organization’s health policies allow you to do.

Since this is related to your health, your boss may be required to provide certain little benefits like a stand-up desk, floor padding or an ergonomic office chair in order to help alleviate any complications of sitting all day. And moving away from your computer screen to allow your eyes to adjust and focus on something else can also be very important. But I’m getting off topic, here. We’re talking about physical fitness…

From a Diabetes standpoint, maintaining your physical fitness will have a number of measurable benefits, including but not limited to better blood sugar control, improved insulin resistance and better blood circulation. Combine that with a reasonably healthy diet and most of the “pain in the ass” symptoms become manageable instead of lethal.

I can attest to that one myself, since insulin resistance was the main issue threatening my life when I was a child. Increased physical activity is what got me through. This would have been right around the time I joined the martial arts. Granted, even though this worked for me doesn’t necessarily mean it would work for everyone. But maintaining some level of physical fitness can lend nothing but benefits, if done properly.

When it comes to fitness, the sky’s the limit and I can almost guarantee that everyone can find SOMETHING that they enjoy doing that constitutes exercise. And at only 10 to 30 minutes per session, there’s little reason or excuse to claim you can’t find the time. I know a lot of people at work who would take walks over lunch, hit the gym and even meditate! Anything you can do to, as they say, get the blood flowing is a good idea and will help to eliminate or lessen unnecessary complications down the road. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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