Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Type 2 Diabetes and exercise influencers | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Type 2 Diabetes and exercise influencers

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We’re here to help. More fabulous questions this week!

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Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance to ask.

Each week we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

Help. I’ve been active for many years, however over the past year I’ve been very unmotivated, and packing on the kgs, and recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I don’t want the diabetes to be an excuse for me but exercising in winter is tough.

—Celia, 43

Hi Celia,

I’m sure you’re not the only Canberran who feels uninspired in winter. Exercise most certainly can help control your Type 2 Diabetes and assist to keep your blood glucose level in the correct range. You just need to be consistent.

Here are a few tips to get you out of that warm doona (once you have been cleared by your GP):

  • Think hard about WHAT YOU WANT out of the exercise program. It has to be an intrinsic motivation—really meaningful to YOU deep down. WHY do YOU want to exercise?
  • It’s important to find an exercise program that suits YOUR BODY.
  • Do it for yourself, not anyone else. If your training partner gets sick, you need to stay focused and keep your program alive!
  • It has to fit into YOUR lifestyle. Scheduling is the key. Figure out what’s best for you and your family/work commitments—are you a morning person? A lunchtime warrior? A pre/post-dinner workout; maybe a sneaky circuit after the kids go to bed?
  • Lastly, find an accountability buddy—choose someone with similar values to yours, and someone reliable and fun! Does anyone pop into mind?

Making a plan is the first step (do you have a professional to help you with this?). One step at a time…

Hi Kirra. Thank you for continuing this helpful column, I enjoy reading your tips each week. 

I have chronic pain and years of joint issues. Who’s your most reliable social media fitness influencer you follow? I’m wanting my social media to be positive and healthy (unlike in the past).

—Ang, 52

Hi Ang,

Lovely to hear that you are embarking on a new lifestyle journey—good on you. What you see on social media, and what you allow the media to put in your head is so important to a healthy and happy you!

1 in 4 Australians are getting their exercise programs and advice from influencers on social media, so I’m sure you’ll find some great influencers out there (I’ll get back to this in a moment).

Honestly, I don’t follow anyone in the fitness world on social media. I don’t even have a personal Instagram account, only a business account, where I follow a handful of positive, educated business legends. I do this on purpose, so I don’t live someone else’s unrealistic snap-shot life.

Now back to your question—it’s fabulous that our community are being supported by fitness influencers, however, you just need to double-check their credibility, and motives.

Some social media “influencers” are highly qualified and give wonderful, safe, effective advice. However, others, not so much. Here’s a healthy checklist for you (hope it helps your new pathway):

1) Check Qualifications

If you have chronic health problems, it’s advised to find someone who is university-qualified and registered with a governing body (like Exercise & Sports Science Australia, Australian Physiotherapy Association).

2) Pre-screening assessment

The exercise professional should ask you some questions about your health and history before prescribing exercise. The program should be individualised to your current chronic conditions, goals and fitness level (especially true if you’re managing chronic pain).

3) Does the influencer have a plan for you?

A generalised “one-size-fits-all” program doesn’t fit all. Having a plan is THE most important thing you need to do in order to achieve your health and wellness goals. 

Ang, I’d suggest following a couple of different influencers for three weeks, and if you’re not getting the “good feels” through their message, unfollow, and pick another handful.

I hope this advice helps you find the right person to assist you on your new wellness journey.

Great questions everyone. I’ll answer more next week!

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The information provided by Ask an Exercise Physiologist is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice.

HerCanberra advises our community to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they’re seeking more specific medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.

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