Using Wii Fit Plus Can Help Improve Blood Sugars

A Guide on How to Start a Fun Exercise Regimen

Wii Fit
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If you are overweight or have Type 2 diabetes, I bet you have heard that you should be exercising. The benefits of exercise are undeniable. Exercise can help to: improve blood sugars and good cholesterol, reduce weight, increase energy levels, and elevate mood. The problem is that life is busy and it can be hard to find the time to get into an exercise regimen. And, although some couldn’t imagine life without exercise, some of us simply do not like exercise.

In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, as of May of 2013, only 1 in 5 adults meet the physical activity guidelines for Americans. Perhaps one of the ways to increase this number is to make exercise fun whilst reaping health benefits. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous and it doesn’t need to take hours. According to a new study published in BMC Endocrine Disorders, participants using Wii Fit Plus for thirty minutes a day over 12 weeks significantly improved HbA1c, reduced fasting blood glucose, weight and body mass index. The Wii Fit Plus group also increased their daily physical activity significantly and reported an improved quality of life and a decrease in depression. This is significant because Wii Fit Plus isn’t your boring day to day exercise routine. Using technology to help increase physical activity is an innovative, creative, and fun way to get moving.

Wii Fit plus has options for activities such as Kung Fu dancing, snowboarding, yoga, step classes, hula hooping, etc. If you don’t have Wii Fit Plus, you can still find an exercise that suits you. The key is finding something you enjoy so that you are more likely to stick with a routine.

What’s the Magic Number? Although the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise each week, any amount of physical activity is better than none at all.

If you have a heart condition or are de-conditioned, get clearance from your physician before starting any exercise program. Start slow and increase gradually to reduce risk of injury. You can start with one 10 minute interval of physical activity and work your way up to 30-60 minutes five days per week or 20-60 minutes of vigorous intensity three days per week. 
 

What Type of Exercise is Best? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that for maximum results, you’ll want to combine cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility training. As noted in the study, you can get results with fun exercise. You can enjoy activities that combine all different types of training without even realizing it. 

Cardiovascular ExerciseCardiovascular exercise is defined as a type of exercise that pushes the heart rate to a near maximum. If you don’t enjoy the stair master, treadmill or stationary bike, you can take your exercise outside or tweak the mundane. For example, take your pet for a brisk walk, jog with a friend outside, cycle along a trail, take a spin class, or go for a hike.

Other fun activities include: basketball, racquetball, soccer, tennis, dancing, skating, volleyball.

Resistance Exercise – Resistance exercise, also referred to as strength training, can be achieved through many different ranges of motion. You can use your own body weight as resistance or weights, bands, or machines. Experts recommend for maximum health benefits to train each muscle group two to three times each week using a variety of exercises. You should also rest about 48 hours between resistance training sessions. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy weight lifting, some other great resistance exercises include: a boot camp class, vinyasa or power yoga, kickboxing (combo of cardio and strength training), and Pilates. 

Flexibility Exercise - Flexibility training is great for posture, loosening tight muscles and improving range of motion. It is recommended to stretch when the muscle is warm. Before stretching try light aerobic activity (walking). You want to stretch before and after workouts so that you don't get hurt. 

How Can I Get Started and Stick to it?

Set a short term and long term goals: Goal setting is a wonderful way to stay motivated. Short term goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, result-focused and time-bound. For example, a short term goal would be: I am going to use my Wii Fit for twenty minutes every day for seven days or I am going to walk three days this week for twenty minutes in the morning before work. A long term goal would be: By the end of the month, I am going to finish a 10K. 

Incorporate exercise into your daily schedule : Pencil exercise into your calendar like you would a meeting or a television show. You’re more likely to stick to a program if you make the time. 

Partner up: Getting active with a loved one, friend or colleague is motivating. It’s important to have support too. 

Music: Music is motivating. Compose a play list of songs that makes you feel good and gets your energy pumping. 
 

Be Safe: The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggests that adults protect themselves by using appropriate gear and sports equipment as well as make sensible choices about when and where to be physically active. The guidelines also encourage those with chronic conditions to consult their health-care provider about the types and amounts of cardiovascular activity that is right for them. 

*It’s important to note, that while exercise can protect against heart disease and help to improve glycemic control that it is still possible for active adults to develop diabetes and heart problems. 

Sources: 
Kempm, Kerstin & Martin, Stephan. Autonomous exercise game use improves metabolic control and quality of life in type 2 daibetes patients – a randomized controlled tiral. BMC Endocrine Disorders 2013, 13:57  Accessed on-line January 7, 2014: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/13/57

Center for Disease Control. Press Release. Accessed on-line January 8, 2014: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0502-physical-activity.html

American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM issues new recommendations on quality and quantity of exercise. Accessed on-line January 12, 2014: http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/acsm-issues-new-recommendations-on-quantity-and-quality-of-exercise

U.S Department of Health and Human Services. 2008  Physician Activity Guidelines for Americans. Accessed on-line January 12, 2014: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf

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