Make Your Workouts about YOU

You are using Lark DPP to lower diabetes risk, and the program includes physical activity. Which one is best for you? Should you simply focus on achieving at least 150 minutes per week or moderate to vigorous-intensity activity, as emphasized in your Diabetes Prevention Program? Or are other activities okay, or even better? Here is the scoop on different workouts and which ones you should choose.

Know Your Reasons

The workout possibilities are virtually limitless, so how do you even decide what activities to do? The great thing is that pretty much any physical activity of at least moderate intensity (think: brisk walking or water aerobics) counts.

Whatever activity or activities you choose, it or they can lower your risk for diabetes and promote other long-term healthy goals. Your activity can help you lose weight and prevent regain. It can increase your strength, stamina, and energy levels. It can make you look better and feel better.

If nearly any activity choice can help you achieve those goals, why is it so important to know your reasons? Knowing why you want to do th

Benefits of Various Activities

Should you try resistance training? Is there an advantage to doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) compared to steady state training? What about yoga and pilates? Here are a few effects of various popular workouts.

Workout Type Effects Notes
Steady-state aerobic, such as walking briskly, cycling, swimming, and dancing
Lower risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions; burn calories; improved stamina; better mood and sleep
Often called “cardio” and what you may think of as regular exercise.
Resistance training, such as with weights, body weight, or resistance bands
Lower risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions; improved muscle tone and resting metabolism; increased strength; better mood and sleep
Reduce the amount of time you rest in between sets to keep your heart rate up and get aerobic benefits, too.
Circuit training or mixed
All of the above benefits!
Minimize your rest time between activities to get more cardiovascular benefits
Increase flexibility to reduce injury risk; lower stress; improve focus; strengthen bones
Try a class to get started so you can learn basic moves and good form
Increase core strength to reduce injury risk; increase general strength and body awareness
Ask an expert if you should do mat or equipment pilates
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as on a treadmill or bike, or in an exercise class
Lower risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions; burn calories; improved stamina; better mood and sleep
This workout can be deceptively hard, so be sure to try it only when you are already exercising routinely
Group fitness classes
Can have all the above benefits
You can learn different moves and prevent boredom

Do not get overwhelmed by too many choices. The important thing, as Lark DPP will continue to tell you, is that you get active, and you stay active.

Still Unsure What to Do?

Choose something you love! Do you love being indoors or outdoors? Do you love company, watching TV, staring off into space, or listening to music? Do you want to direct your workout or have someone direct you? Here are a few ideas to guide your thinking.


Indoors? Or outdoors?
Treadmill walking, stationary cycling, Boot camp in the park; walking the park neighborhood; hiking
Alone? Or with others?
Listen to music; watch television or movies; read a book or magazine Beach volleyball; tennis; walking in a group or with a friend; spinning classes
Are you the boss? Or the student?
Gym machines; outdoor workouts that you make up; gardening Personal training; group fitness such as kickboxing, aerobics, cardio and strength classes; zumba; smartphone apps that demonstrate workouts
Traditional? Or novel?
Walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, golf Circus classes, kayaking, play on a playground

Friends and Family

Your friends and family are part of your life, so they might as well be part of your active life. You can include them however they are able and willing. They can certainly be your workout buddy if they want to and are able to keep up with you. You can benefit with the increased accountability, the company during the workout, and someone to push you.

However, there are plenty of other ways that friends and family can be part of your active life. For example…

  • Keep in touch with friends or out-of-town family members by phoning them while you walk or cycle in the gym.

  • Spend more quality time with your children by joining in their active play.

  • Arrange to meet your friend for coffee at a coffee shop within walking distance of your home…and walk to meet your friend.

  • Have a dance party with your family after dinner and take turns choosing the songs to dance to and leading dances.

  • Include your children or spouse in household chores, and take time to get active with pillow fights or games of hide-and-seek.

  • Have a picnic at a local park, and see what happens after the meal when everyone is energized!

  • Make family outings active. Instead of going to a movie, for example, go to the zoo, a local pool, or even a county fair. You will have to move at least a little bit to get around the fairgrounds.

Take Credit for Your Activity

Your body knows that you got active, but you might as well get as much credit as possible from every source possible. When you log your activity with Lark, you can get the immediate praise and feedback that you deserve for your efforts, as well as the weekly feedback and reports that show you how far you have progressed.

You can also use social media platforms to spread the word about your accomplishments. Have your friends and family follow you to increase motivation, and do not forget to follow them, too!

Your workouts are for you, so they should be about you, too. Work them into your lifestyle and have them reflect your personality, and you may get more out of them, enjoy them more, and keep them up for longer. It’s a win-win-win!

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Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Assistant Professor of Public Health

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