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Diabetes Health Center

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5 Small Goals With Big Rewards for Type 2 Diabetes

3. Move 10 minutes more. continued...

Aim to add 10 minutes of moderate exercise to your daily routine, and then continue tacking it on until you hit at least 150 minutes per week.

You'll get the most benefit from something that makes you breathe harder and challenge your heart rate. But everything counts, even fidgeting. Just standing or pacing while talking on the phone can help lower blood pressure and total cholesterol.

To burn more calories, take a brisk walk, or do strength training moves while you watch TV. Start slow and aim for regular sessions of at least three times a week. Over time, gradually make your workouts longer and more challenging. Find an activity you enjoy.

4. Add a vegetable.

As a kid, you were told to eat your vegetables. And yet, most adults don’t get the recommended three to five servings a day.

You can start small. Just add one vegetable in place of another food once a day.

  • Skip the bag of potato chips, and try fresh celery sticks.
  • Cook a little less pasta, and bulk up the dish with vegetables such as artichoke hearts, zucchini, or mushrooms.
  • Use lettuce as sandwich wraps for lunch, or toss leftover veggies in with eggs for a quick breakfast.

Changes like these can shave off calories, give you more fiber, and help you feel full. That can mean weight loss and better blood sugar control.

5. Bump it up.

Once you've hit those first few milestones, keep going.

After you've lost that first 5% of your weight, press on. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes improved their blood sugar control when they lost as little as 2% of their body weight. But to see even more improvements, like a lower risk of heart disease and improved blood sugar over the long term, aim to drop 10 to 15% of your body weight.

Losing this amount of body weight could also be more noticeable. You may lose some inches from your waist, drop a pants size, or just feel better. These changes can motivate you to continue shedding pounds if you need to.

Keep adding more minutes of exercise, and more vegetables, too. It's all part of putting yourself in charge of your diabetes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on May 16, 2014
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