Why fun group exercise works
Struggling to get started on a fitness routine? Maybe you need to try exercising in a group. It’s far more fun, and just as good for you!
There’s something about pounding the pavement on your own that is just no fun. Swimming lengths can also be lonely, and so can going to the gym. But who said getting fit had to be a solo exercise? Here are some of our favourite ways to get active with your friends and family members.
All you need is a pair of walking shoes and an adventurous spirit and you can start a walking group. Decide on a route that you want to follow, and start slowly – just a kilometre or two will do. It’s a good idea to have a goal in mind so that you can work up to longer distances. How about 10km by the end of the year?
Finding enough people for a full soccer team might be a challenge, but 5-a-side soccer only needs ten people to play the whole game, and ensures that everyone gets a real work-out. You can play on any field or in a garden (because there are fewer players, you need less space) and the game doesn’t last as long – generally an hour in total.
While you can pay a lot to attend official boot camp classes, you can also set up your own boot camp with a few friends. Decide what areas of the body you specifically want to work and set out a four-week exercise programme. You might want to include things like sit-ups, push-ups, jogging around a track or on the spot, doing star jumps, short sprints, skipping and lifting weights. Just make sure everyone is in agreement with what the session looks like – and don’t leave anyone behind!
Expert tips from biokineticist Ilona Padayachee
The FITT principle is very helpful to keep in mind with walking.
- F – Frequency
- I – Intensity
- T – Time
- T – Type
Aim to exercise for 3 to 5 days a week. If you are a beginner try not to overdo it, start off slowly and progress to longer and faster walks.
This is very important in any exercise programme.Walking at the correct speed can make a huge difference to how effective the exercise is.
Start slow and build up your time. A beginner walker should start out at 10 to 12 minutes, including 5 minutes warm-up. Then increase it to 20 minutes by adding 2 minutes to the walk every week.
Choose the type or kind of activity that you enjoy. It’s always easier to stick to something you like doing!
Diabetic foot care tips:
No matter how much fun you’re having getting fit, don’t forget to look after your feet! As a diabetic, foot care is really important. Bad circulation in the feet and legs, often noticed as leg pain and leg cramps, is one of the problems facing diabetics, and can lead to chronic ulcers, numbness and even gangrene. Daily care for the feet is essential.
Here are some great tips:
- Exercise and regular movement is good for circulation.
- If possible, raise your feet when you’re sitting down.
- Check your feet every day for swelling, marks and red spots.
- Check your feet for ‘cold areas’ (a sign of poor circulation).
- Check your feet for ‘hot areas’ (a sign of infection).
- Dry your feet well after bathing, showering or swimming.
- Apply a good natural cream to the feet every day.
- Wear comfortable shoes that do not pinch the feet or toes.
- Keep toenails trimmed and file sharp edges.
Fun group exercise can make diabetes fitness so much easier. Let us know what exercise you do on Diabetic South Africans.
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