How Inefficiency Helps Me Manage Diabetes

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To live well with diabetes I need to add regular exercise to my routine.

I am facing up to the fact that I am extremely sedentary. I work at a computer most of the day. Where I live is too far away from shops to walk there. My commute to town means I spend a lot of time in the car.

In figuring out how to add exercise to my routine I’ve been reading up on exercise advice for people with diabetes. Anaerobic exercise vs. aerobic exercise. Sets of inverted pyramids. Testing blood sugars before, during and after exercise. It’s overwhelming.

Then there are the warnings. Exercise might cause blood sugars to spike. Exercise too hard and you can cause blood vessels in your eyes to burst. If you’re really out of shape hard exercise can cause a heart attack or a stroke. While in the long run exercise gets easier, damaging your eyesight or having a stroke is a pretty big price to pay for ignoring the warning signs.

All this info was enough to make me want to walk very quickly screaming from the room. I decided I had to start with something simple and safe.

My current exercise goal is MOVE MORE! Take more steps during each day.

So how do I get myself to move more? By being inefficient.

I try to be efficient at everything and cram as much productivity as possible into each day. I multi-task. I group errands. You know, that kind of thing. Efficiency is good, no?

But I realize now that being efficient is actually working against me. It’s  keeping me from meeting some of my (more important) health goals.

So I decided to become sloppy about how I do things.

For example, I can easily rack up almost 200 steps making a single cup of tea.

Here’s how I do it. Walk from my desk to the kettle. Fill the kettle with water, turn kettle on, and put tea bag in my mug as the water heats up. Walk back to my desk. That’s 60 steps. Complete a short task like reading an email or writing a paragraph. When the kettle goes off walk back to the kettle and pour the boiling water into my mug. Walk back to my desk. I’m up to 120 steps. Complete another short task. Let the tea brew. Walk back to the tea cup, add soy milk and sweetener. Pick up mug and walk back to my desk. A total of 180 steps taken.

Voilá I’ve used 120 more steps than I would have if I made my cup of tea in a single trip.

There are plenty other activities that I am adding more movement to by becoming less efficient. Laundry, for instance, involves walking down 28 steps for each trip to the washing machine. How many times can I go back and forth? When I need to take a bathroom break I go to the restroom that’s farthest away. At the mall I go back and forth to my car to drop off shopping bags as I shop.

What other inefficiencies can you think of that will get you moving more?