Dare to be different

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Have you ever wanted to take up salsa dancing? Surf a wave? Or try your hand at tennis? Well age is not a barrier that should be stopping you. In fact, there are numerous benefits in trying new activities or sports as we get older, not only for your physical wellbeing but also for your mental health.

Why choose something new?

It is common knowledge that one of the hardest parts of keeping to a regular physical activity routine is motivation or, to be more specific, a lack of motivation! Having a go at something new is a great way to keep your exercise routine fresh, fun and enjoyable. Performing different types of movements also activates different muscle patterns, which can burn more energy and have a larger impact on lowering your blood glucose levels.

What to consider before you start

Do your research

When deciding what new activity to try it is important to do some research so you don’t set yourself up to fail. For an example, if you have bad knees a good place to start is to find out what types of activities have less of an impact on the lower limbs. Swimming, bike riding, boxing, aqua aerobics, dragon boat racing might be on your list of activities to try that won’t leave you in high levels of pain after the first session.

Allow an adequate warm up and cool down

The last thing you want is an injury when starting something new. A typical warm up would involve at least 10 minutes and should be tailored to the movements and intensity of the exercise you are about to perform. If you are unsure on how to adequately warm up, stretch or cool down for a particular exercise it is recommended to speak to an Exercise Physiologist.

Seek professional advice

If you are going down the path of starting an activity that requires a particular set of skills, you will need professional advice. This is a qualified person trained to teach that skill or activity such as a dance instructor, a gymnastics coach, a surf instructor, a boxing trainer etc. An exercise physiologist is the best person to discuss your diabetes management around particular types of activities as different activities can have a different impacts on blood glucose levels.

Get a check-up

Speaking to your General Practitioner before starting something new is recommended before starting a new exercise regime. This is particularly important when embarking on something more challenging in intensity that you are used to and if you have one or more chronic health condition(s).

Remember, it is important not to get too comfortable with the same physical activity routine because once we get good at doing an activity the body does not need to work as hard as it did when you first started. So why not be daring and try out something new!

You don’t need to be an athlete, you just need to move a little more than you did yesterday.

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