A low carb diet is a very important aspect in controlling your diet. However, Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise play a very important role in your overall Diabetes management. In this blog post, we will cover Aerobic exercise – specifically running or jogging.
What is Aerobic Exercise?
Aerobic exercise, sometimes referred to as “Cardio”, are exercises designed to stimulate breathing rate and heart rate. This works by exercising certain muscles in your body. Your heart has to pump more blood to these muscles that are being exercised, thereby increasing the heart rate.
Common examples of Aerobic exercises include Running, Swimming, and Cycling.
But… I have never run before!
Me neither! As I have told before on my blog post, I have been a couch potato. I have a desk job, and I have not been very active. However, I am determined to improve my health. Over the last month, I have tried several things, and found few things that have worked. I am seeing results, and motivated more than ever to continue my active lifestyle with running and aerobic exercises. I will share tips that have worked for me below.
Tip #1 – Start Walking: I have a fitness tracker (Fitbit Charge 2), and add 11,000 step each day. Before you can start running, you need to walk. Your muscles have not been “in use” for a long, long time. It will take time for your body to get used to the more active lifestyle. See my previous post 10 Tips for Success with your fitness tracker for tips on getting started with walking.
Tip #2 – Get good shoes: I cannot emphasise this enough. If you are planning to start running, you should invest in a good pair of sneakers. A decent pair will cost you somewhere between $90 to $150, but they are worth the investment. I personally run in a Brooks Glycerin (mens / womens) pair, and they are super comfortable. However, everyone is different. Go to a sports store near you such as Sports Basement, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Road Runner sports. These stores will do a free gait analysis for you and recommend a pair that is right for you.
Tip #3 – Use C25K app: The key to start running is to start slowly and build up. The C25K app (iOS, Android) does precisely that. The app will guide you through a 9-week program so you can run 5 kilometers at the end. You start the initial week with 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. Then over the next 9 weeks, the app will guide you into increasing your jogging time and reducing your walking time. However, the app does not have a lot of tips and suggestions, so follow the tips below. They will hopefully help you more with setting the right expectation towards success.
Tip #4 – It’s OK to take more than 9 weeks: The C25K app trains you to start jogging in 9 weeks. However, you do not have to finish the program. At the end of each week, evaluate for yourself whether you were comfortable with the previous week’s performance. If you had a lot of pain, or skipped a few reps of running; feel free to repeat the week until you are comfortable.
Tip #5 – Don’t worry about the pace: A common mistake people make is that they try to run as fast as they can. This will lead to injuries, which you want to avoid. In my initial weeks, I walked at 2.2 mph and jogged at 3.2 mph. That is slow, but it allowed me to complete the full 30 minutes of workout. Towards the third week of the program, I automatically started running slightly faster at 3.5 mph. I plan to maintain this speed until I can jog a full 20 minutes at that speed. Only after that will I look to adding small increments to the speed each week until I can run at more than 5.5 mph.
Tip #6 – Stay hydrated: It is important to hydrate yourself. I strongly recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day.
Tip #7 – Take “break” days: Your body and muscles will need time to recover from the wear. I run 3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) and walk the remaining days. This helps me to recover and not feel tired before starting the running workout. The C25K app recommends you to only have 3 workouts per week.
Tip #8 – Don’t start or stop abruptly: Warmup and Cooldown before and after the run. Suggested time is a walk at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes each. With C25K app, your typical workout will start with 5 minutes of warmup, approximately 20 minutes of walk & run intervals, and 5 minute of cooldown.
Tip #9 – Stretch before AND after your workout: Stretching before the start of your exercise loosens your muscles, making the workout a bit easier. A common mistake made by many folks is to stretch before, but not after the workout. Stretching after the workout signals your mind that the workout is over and relaxes your body. I had several days of cramps and leg pain initially when I did not stretch after the workout.
Tip #10 – You do not need a Gym membership: Many people do their workouts on a treadmill. While this works well, it is not necessary. A park or school ground is generally sufficient for C25K training. Many public elementary school grounds are open to general public after school hours. Check with the school staff if it is OK to use their grounds after hours.
Can I do some other exercise besides running?
Yes, absolutely! Running, Jogging, Swimming, Cycling, and several other aerobic exercises are perfect substitutes. The goal is to increase your heart rate, pump more blood, lose or maintain weight, and help control your Diabetes.
I am in week 4 of the program and have lost 10 pounds so far. Keep in mind that I am also following a strict low carb diet, so not all of my weight loss can be attributed to the aerobic exercises alone.
Enjoy your workouts – cheers to low-carbing and active lifestyle!