By Lizzie Nichols, First Mile Care, DPP Coach

Staying active for 150 minutes a week is a core principle of First Mile Care and the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). When we find ways to increase activity, we reduce our risk for developing diabetes. We face enormous cultural changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), with many of us directed to “shelter in place” as well as practice social distancing. Therefore, many of our usual resources for staying active (gyms, community centers, yoga studios, and more) are closed to in-person business. On a positive note, there are still plenty of ways we can get adequate physical exercise at home and a lot of our local resources are offering virtual classes.

Benefits of Physical Activity

 As we face the challenges of isolation and working from home, it is important to remember the benefits of physical activity to stay motivated and meet our goals.

  • Lower stress and lift mood

  • Better sleep

  • Control weight

  • Improve cholesterol

  • Lower blood pressure

 Action Plans

 In our weekly DPP meetings, we focus on an “action plan” to make the small changes around nutrition and exercise that will facilitate the lifestyle changes to prevent pre-diabetes. We encourage you to lean into your action plan as you navigate new ways of increasing exercise while sheltering at home. Identify small, specific, realistic and do-able goals. As always, if things aren’t going according to your plan, go easy on yourself and readjust.

 Schedule It

 There is a strong inclination to keep to a schedule as we develop a new structure for our days at home that addresses both work and family obligations. We can use this for exercise as well. You can identify longer activities, like a 30-minute walk, and schedule it three times a week. Or you can choose shorter intermittent activities, like 10-minute building strength exercises, and do them three times a day. Pick the activity structure that works best for you and your family.

 Home Activities

 Hopefully, there have already been some changes that you have been able to implement at home. We always encourage using what you already have on hand.

  • Your body is always available for squats, wall push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, crunches, planks, and more

  • Yoga and Pilates aerobic workouts online and on fitness apps

  • If you already have cardio equipment at home, jump on!

  • Virtual games and Wii Sport

  • Family dance parties or virtual ones while videoconferencing with friends

  • Climb the stairs into or inside your home

  • Do household chores to music and put a little more pep in your step

 Outdoor Activities

 It is still possible to exercise outdoors with six feet of safety between you and a family member or friend. If you feel comfortable and the weather is fine, taking yourself outdoors is a pleasant way to lift your spirits while maintaining human connections.

  • Gardening

  • Walking (or walking your pet)

  • Hiking

  • Jogging

  • Biking

 Online and Local Resources

 Individual instructors and businesses are finding creative ways to bring their classes online. Be sure to check with your local resources to see what they are offering, either fee-based or as freebies. If you can’t find anything in your community, there are many offerings through national organizations such as the YMCA. Even celebrities are offering free workouts and dance lessons through social media.