Native American Diabetes Project

Meeting 1: Exercise More!

A vision for
and our

The Eagle, through his vision, can see us making changes in our lives that make us healthier, and our children and grandchildren healthier, too. He sees us beginning to exercise and having others join us. Soon we are looking better and enjoying exercise! Before long, our entire community is joining in to make a healthier community.

What is

Diabetes means your body has trouble using food for energy.

Diabetes is in the genes you were born with, just like the color of your hair and eyes!

Do not blame yourself for having diabetes, it is not your fault. You did not get diabetes because you did something wrong.

What can
you do
You, and only you, can take charge of your diabetes and control it!

More exercise can help you to lower your blood sugar and feel better.

can prevent
or delay
Did you know that your family and friends may be able to prevent diabetes or delay diabetes by getting regular exercise?

It's true! Exercise may be the key to prevent or delay diabetes in your family and friends!

Because exercise is so important for all for us, we are going to talk a lot about exercise.

What is
We know you've been told before to get more exercise. But let's take a few minutes and explain what exercise is.

Exercise is an activity that you do for 20 minutes or more at least 3 times per week.

The 20 minutes is best if it is done all at one time, so that it makes your heart beat a little faster, makes you sweat a little bit, and it makes you breathe a little harder!

What kind
of exercise
can I do?
Walking is a good way to start exercising, and is something you can do where you live, or at a gym or a school track. Anywhere you feel safe and like the scenery! Walking is the cheapest form of exercise.

Traditionally, running was a way of life for everyone. Running is an excellent exercise.

But exercise can be anything you like to do! Just keep moving for at least twenty minutes at least 3 times per week!

Ideas for


can you
think of?

Choose any exercise you like to do! The most important thing is that you like it and you will do it!

jumping rope
running or jogging
all kinds of dancing
walking for exercise

Why should
I exercise?
We know you've heard you need to get more exercise, but do you know why exercise is such a big deal? Exercise is a big deal because exercise will lower your blood sugar! That is the most important thing about exercise.
Exercise is a big deal for people with diabetes! Exercise will lower your blood sugar and make you feel better!

Exercise may prevent or delay diabetes for your family and friends!

Healthy exercising means that you do it:

can prevent
At least 20 minutes all at one time
3-4 times per week
Your heart beats faster
You sweat a little
You breathe harder than usual
You feel like your're working a little
Should be easy enough to talk to someone
        while you're exercising, and
it's fun!
How does
lower my
When you have diabetes, your body has trouble using food for energy and you end up with too much sugar in your blood. Blood sugar is a funny thing, you can't feel sugar in your blood, but it's there. When you exercise, you body uses up the sugar in your blood for energy! so when you exercise your blood sugar gets lower.
Once you get started exercising and are exercising regularly, exercise can help you use up calories even when you are sitting still! Pretty neat, huh? So exercise can lower your blood sugar and help you maintain your weight or lose weight.

Because exercise lowers your blood sugar, you may need less medication. If you have a question about your medicine, you should check your blood sugar and ask your health care provider.

Exercise makes everything about diabetes easier!

What else
exercise do
for me?
In addition to lowering your blood sugar, exercise can also make it easier to do the following:

lose weight
sleep better
feel younger
be more alert
handle stress
have more energy
improve blood flow
keep your heart fit
keep extra weight off
keep your spirits high
feel more self confident
increase your muscle tone
control high blood pressure
avoid diabetes complications
Can I really
Everyone can exercise! You don't have to be a sports nut or an athlete to exercise. People with diabetes really need exercise to lower their blood sugar.

Let's meet some people who exercise. You'll see they are people just like you!

We are proud to present a section of the video production:

Life in Balance
written and produced by the
Center For Health Promotion
and Disease Prevention
University of New Mexico
Department of Pediatrics

As you watch the video be thinking about these questions.

Are the people athletes?

What exercises did they like doing?

Why did they get started with exersice?

What did they do for exercise during bad weather?

How do
I start
If you want to start exercising: good for you, you've decided to give it a try! Here's how to get started.

Exercise 10 minutes at a time every day to get started.

Increase by 5 minutes a week.

By the end of the month you will be exercising for 20-25 minutes at a time!

What if I
Congratulations! If you are already exercising 20 minutes or more very other day (or 3-4 times a week), then keep up the good work.

If you are ready for a little bit more, you should know that increasing your exercise will help improve your blood sugar control even more and help prevent diabetes for your family.

Increasing your exercise to a total of 3 hours a week (60 minutes for 3 times a week or 45 minutes for 4 times a week) will really improve your fitness, your sugar, and your state of mind. So, feel free to pick up the pace or exercise a little longer. You will be stronger in body in spirit.

1. Remember when you exercise you lose moisture by sweating and you need to replace your body's fluids by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day!

2. When the weather is bad, try exercising with the TV. There are exercise programs on Channel 5. You can watch Sit and Be Fit at 7 AM on Saturday or Home Stretch at either 6 AM or at 11:30 AM, Monday through Friday. Check your newspaper for current times.

3. Instead of watching TV in the evening, you can play an aerobic exercise tape in your VCR and exercise with your family or walk while listening to your favorite music.

4. You can chop wood for 20 minutes, that will keep you warm and you'll be getting exercise!

5. You can dance to music in your house for an hour.

What else can you think of?

How can I
get all that
Plan to include exercise in your life. Now let's think about something else people have to plan:

A Garden

Every winter we plan our gardens and we start thinking about what crops we would like to plant. We think about the fall harvest, the ripe tomatoes, the corn and the beans.

When spring finally comes, we are ready to work in the ground, turning it over for the seeds. Carefully we plant the tender seeds in the warm soil. Every day we tend the seeds making sure they have plenty of water.

Soon the plants begin to emerge from the ground. We water the new plants and pull the weeds. The plants bloom and tiny vegetables begin to appear.

The summer rains and sunshine make the plants grow big and strong. All summer we take care of the plants in the garden, with the hope that we will have lots of vegetables.

One day we go to the garden and see the tomatoes red in color, the corn, golden and the beans, ripe. We begin to gather the crops and smile.

Last winter, so many months ago, when it was still dark and cold, we had visions of this very day. Our efforts in choosing the seeds, working the soil, planting the garden, and tending the plants have been successful. We have a good crop and feel proud of ourselves.

with your
Getting started with exercise is much like having a garden. With our gardens, we have a plan and set a goal, to make a garden and have vegetables, even though we may not say I'm planning a garden and my goal is to have vegetables.

Just like you plan your garden with the goal of having vegetables, you can plan your exercise with the goal of lowering your blood sugar.

Choose an
you like
to do.
Choose an exercise plan and exercise goal for yourself. Look back at the list of what exercise does for you. Try thinking of exercise like you do your garden, you have to plan it, choose the things you like, take care of it everday, and you are more likely to be successful with your exercise.

Just like your family and friends help you with your garden, by weeding and watering, family and friends can help you with your exercise goal by exercising with you, watching the children while you go for a jog and walking to the post office with you. What else can you think of?

time to
When you plan your exercise and pick a goal, make sure it is one you know you can do. You wouldn't think of planting a garden full of grapefruit trees in New Mexico, would you?

Plan a small exercise change to start with. For example,"This week I plan to walk to the post office every other day instead of driving and have more energy!"

Plan your exercise and your goals for this week!

We've included a calendar just for you and we encourage you to use the calendar to write down your plan. When you exercise, write it in the space provided. Calendars can really help us to keep track of how much exercise we get everyday.

Use the calendar whenever you exercise. Bring your calendars to the next meeting!

We've included some reward stickers for you too!

When we have a garden, we are thinking about the ripe tomatoes, and the golden sweet corn. these are some of the rewards of having a garden!

Rewards are a good way to keep ourselves going. Exercise has a lot of rewards like lowering our blood sugars and feeling younger. Occasionally we can have a special reward for exercising.

When choosing a reward try not to think only of food as a reward! Here are some ideas.

go dancing!
call a friend!
go to a movie!
make jewelry!
buy new yarn!
do some sewing!
play some music!
do some weaving!
try a new hairstale!
try some new beads!
go window shopping!
get some new paints!
try a new pair of socks!
buy a new paint brush!
try a new pair of shoes!
a new plant or fresh flowers!
spend time with your child or grandchild!
put 10 cents in a piggybank for each 10 minutes
you exercise!
How can
help my
We learn from each other. Your family learns from watching what you do. You can help your family get started exercising by getting started yourself! If you are having trouble getting started with exercise, think of this. You are setting an example for your children and grandchildren and can possibly prevent or delay diabetes in those you love!

Families that exercise regularly may prevent or delay diabetes and will be generally healthier.

How can
I make
more fun?

Family and friends can make exercise more fun! You are probably already doing things together, like walking together, and playing games together.

Getting grandmother, grandfather, the children, brothers and sisters together for a walk around the community can be a lot of fun!

Take a few minutes and think of at least one family or friend who can help you get started exercising and make it more fun.


"I hear what you are saying and I'd like to exercise more, but sometimes things get in the way."

You're not alone! We all have excuses! No time. Too cold. No baby sitter. It's to hard! I don't like exercise. My spouse won't let me go walking. I'm just too tired. These are just a few excuses. Do any of these sound familiar?

Take a minute and think of at least one thing that gets in your way of exercise. If you want to you can write it down.

I know I
I know I

Now let's pick one of the excuses we talked about, " I don't have enough time. " What is at least one thing you could do to get around this excuse? If you want you can write it down here.

Try the same thing with these excuses. " I'm too old " and replace it with "I'm never too old to exercise." And, "I'm too tired" and replace it with "I know if I go for a walk, I'll feel better."

Don't give

We all have things which come up, which get in the way and may cause us to stop exercising once or twice or even more. Just get started again and work your way back to a healthier you.
on our

Let's review what we've learned today.

Healthy exercising means that you do it:

Exercise is
a big deal!

At least 20 minutes all at one time
3-4 times per week
Your heart beats faster
You sweat a little
You breath harder than usual
You feel like your're working a little
Should be easy enough to talk to someone
        while you're exercising, and
it's fun!



1. Exercise lowers blood sugar, helps prevent or postpone diabetes, and helps us be strong in body and spirit.

2. There are lots of things that count as exercise! Gardening, walking, jogging, biking, and swimming just to name a few!

3. Plan to walk 30 minutes every day and use healthy non-food rewards.

4. Exercise can be more fun when we include our families and friends.

Choose the
that is right
for you.
Okay, now let's plan an exercise, and choose a reward. Take a minute and think of an exercise that you'd be interested in trying. (Refere back to your calendar.)

This week, in order to exercise more, I plan to...

(for example, walk to the post office every day)

My reward for at the end of the week is

(for example, to rent a favorite video)

I will ask my friend or family to help me by

(for example, walk to the post office with me)


I promise to do the best I can with my exercise plan and to get my family or friend to help.

My signature

My family member's or friend's signature

A new vision
for you!
Today's session provided us with valuable information to enable us to make changes in our lives. It is given to us to assist us in making the Eagle's vision come true.

So as we come to the close of meeting 1, let's close our eyes and envision ourselves starting to put into action what we have learned.

As I greet each day, I thank the Great Spirit for another day that I can take care of myself and my family and see my friends. I make each day count towards a healthier one, by including an exercise time to enjoy the beauty of Mother Earth and all that surrnound me each day. And the Great Spirit for a good day and all of its blessings.

Great Spirit, thank you for another day,
In which I can spread my wings like the eagle,
Gathereing wisdom and strength to make lifes' changes,
For a healthier tomorrow,
Through working the body and taking the time,
To enjoy each other and passing time.

Thank you for coming.

What do
you think?
Before we finish, take a few minutes and tell us what you think about this meeting. Be as honest as you can, we want to know what you really think. This information will be used to make our program better.

What did you like best about today's session?

What didn't you like about today's session?

What would you add to this session to make it better? e!

Remember to bring your calendars next time! Thank you for coming to the meeting.

  |Native Diabetes Project |Back to Top of the Page|
|Meeting 1: Exercise More! |Meeting 2: Eat Less Fat|
|Meeting 3: Eat Less Sugar |Meeting 4: Together We Can|
|Meeting 5: Staying on the Path!|

Copyright January 1995, First Edition, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131.