12 Great Summer Activities for Diabetics
Summer’s here, and it’s a glorious time to get outside and have a little fun. When you have diabetes, it’s important to add some exercise and movement to your day to help keep those sugars under control.
However, most diabetics – myself included – don’t tend to deal well with extremely hot temperatures. So, even though you’re excited about summer, once we hit those “dog days” of the upper 90’s it can be a little daunting to do those outside activities.
My suggestion is to have an arsenal of great exercises and activities that you can mix up in the summertime. This way, not only do you not get bored but if it’s just too hot to exercise outside comfortably, you already have a backup plan. Let’s take a gander at what that might look like.
Fun Summer Activities for Diabetics
Regardless of whether you love summer or hate it, let’s look at some ways to make this summer a great one!
- Take the whole family hiking. Hiking is a great way to get a little exercise and enjoy nature. Check out your local parks for some trails. Most parks will define the trails as “easy,” “moderate,” and “difficult.” Be sure to stick to a level that your doctor and body will approve of. The great thing about park trails is that you are usually guaranteed to be walking in the shade, so this is especially good in the summer. And, check the rules first, but you might even be able to take your family dog. My Lucy is great on family hikes.
- Walk around the neighborhood. If nature isn’t your thing, how about a walk around the block? If you stick to early morning or after dinner, the weather is a little cooler. And, it’s a great way to meet the neighbors.
- Get out to the exercise trails. Do any of your local parks have exercise trails? These are so fun! There are outside stations with easy exercise equipment so that you can take a short walk with some exercises in between. Take a friend to make it more fun.
- Enjoy the water by going kayaking, canoeing, or paddle-boating. If you have a public lake nearby, like maybe a state park, chances are you can rent a kayak, canoe or paddle boat. It’s usually really inexpensive for these non-motorized boats, and they are a fun way to spend a little time on the water while getting a workout at the same time. And, the bonus is, if you get too hot, you can always pop out of the boat for a quick swim.
- Take the bike out. Riding a bike is a great exercise that you can get the whole family involved in. There are bike paths all over these days and, even when it’s hot, you can usually get a little breeze while you ride.
- Sign up for organized sports. Playing on a team like a softball, baseball, volleyball, soccer or even tennis can be a fun way to not only get some exercise but meet new people and make new friends.
- Try a new sport. If you’ve always wanted to learn to golf or maybe play disc golf, summer is a great time for lessons or for just going out and trying it on your own.
Getting too Hot Outside? Try These Five Awesome Summer Indoor Activities
- Sign up for a gym membership. Don’t forget about the gym. In between the “fun” activities above, sneak in a little bit of strength training at your local gym or YMCA. Remember, many gyms are now just $10 per month so you can give up ONE fancy coffee (with too much sugar anyway) for that.
- Shopping + the mall = walking. If you can avoid the temptation of stopping to shop, mall walking is still a popular indoor activity. Many malls even have clubs with points and prizes. While this is certainly a fabulous way to get some exercise in the winter, it’s perfect for the dog days of summer when going outside doesn’t sound fun.
- At the casino? Go for a walk. I know this one sounds a little unorthodox but we have several casinos in our area now and they are huge. I can get 1,000 steps just in one lap of the casino, and they keep those nicely air-conditioned. Just be sure to keep walking past those machines and if you must try your luck, do it at the end of the walk.
- Find an indoor class you'll enjoy. Summer is a great time for a class like yoga, aerobics or kick-boxing. Try something new and see how it feels.
- Turn on the TV and play a (video) game that'll get you moving. What? Yes, your television is a source of exercise if you get off the couch. Try a game of Just Dance on the Wii. Or, if you don’t have a game system, search the tube for yoga or exercise programs that you can watch and do from home. When I’m at home and need to move a little, I like to pull up Leslie Sansone on Youtube and do some of her walking exercises.
Tips for Staying Healthy During the Summer
Getting outside and getting that body moving in the summertime is fun but you need to be smart about it. Here are some tips on safety.
- Keep hydrated. Be sure to keep plenty of water handy and drink it while you are outside. It is recommended to drink at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your body hydrated.
- Slather on the sunscreen. Sunscreen is your friend. Need I say more? Nothing worse than a sunburn after a great day outdoors. Skin that is not burnt = happy skin!
- Spray on the bug spray. Depending on what you are doing/where you are, you might want to keep some bug spray handy. You'll thank yourself later – especially since it's mosquito season.
- Wear proper clothing. Light-colored, loose-fitting, a hat, sunglasses, proper shoes, and so on. If you are out a lot, you might even look into some of the clothing lines that offer some built-in SPF.
- Remember regular blood sugar tests. Keep an eye on what your glucose levels tend to do. Some people go higher in the heat and others don’t. Some people can drop low after exercise. Be sure to chat with your doctor about best times to check and what’s going to be best for your situation.
Welcome summer with open arms, ready feet and some smart tactics and you will have a great time. What do you like to do keep fit in the summertime? Share with us in the comments below.