Onduo is here to help you find ways to add more exercise and activity to your life. Benefits include weight loss, improved mood, and stronger muscles!

Easy activities to do outside

With summer, and hopefully warm weather, quickly approaching, many people will be looking for ways to get outside. The summer is also a more relaxing time. People go on vacation, enjoy time with family and friends, among other activities that are limited in the colder months.

Summer can also be a great time to introduce a new exercise routine, or outdoor activity into your daily schedule. We’ve put together a list of simple and fun outdoor activities you can do alone or with your friends and family over the summer to stay on top of your health.

    1. Walking - Walking requires very little equipment and has many health benefits such as easing joint pain .

    2. Hiking - If you’re looking for a bit more of an intense walk, try hiking. Not only will you get to explore nature, but rougher terrain and elevation change found in some hikes will require more energy, giving you more of a workout.

    3. Biking - Biking is another form of exercise that is easy on the joints. Like walking and hiking, you can control the intensity of your ride by riding on a trail or around your neighborhood.

    4. Outdoor games - If you’re at a neighborhood or family gathering this summer, try playing an outdoor game. Games like wiffle ball, kickball, or something simple like horseshoes, can get your heart rate up, while still enjoying the outdoors and time with friends.

    5. Non-equipment exercises - Grab a workout mat, and get outside. There’s lots of non-equipment options like yoga, pilates, and simple stretching you can do in nature. The best part? Most non-equipment exercises can be done at your own pace and comfort level, so you can pick what works best for you.

  • Take some time for yourself and your health this summer by getting outside and trying a new outdoor exercise or activity. As always, make sure to check with your PCP before starting a new activity or exercise. And don’t forget to log your exercises in your Onduo app to keep track of all your hard work

Easy ways to stay hydrated

Person drinking

Drinking enough water is important for your physical and mental health. Water is essential for your digestion, your joints, your mood, and even your thinking—just to name a few.

For many people, 8 cups of water (8 ounces each) a day is a good target, but your needs can vary based on your activity level, gender, and health conditions. While staying hydrated may sound challenging but doable, we all know life has a way of distracting us until we’re parched and cranky.

Check out our 6 tricks to make sure you’re staying hydrated, even on your busiest days.

  • Track your hydration for a while. Did you know you can log your water consumption in the Onduo app, just like your meals? It’s a great way to see how much water you’re actually drinking and stay motivated.

  • Drink before you feel thirsty. It’s pretty simple. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. The key is to drink water preemptively—throughout the day as well as during meals—to prevent dehydration before it starts.

  • Keep chilled water bottles on hand. Fill up a few reusable water bottles and stash them in the refrigerator at home or work. This makes it easy to have a nice cold bottle ready to grab and go.

  • Spice it up. Some people say that plain water is boring. If you’re among them, try adding various infusions of fruits and herbs to a large pitcher. For example: strawberry and kiwi, cucumber and mint, or lemon and basil.

  • Pick hydrating beverages. Consider hydration before you order. Many restaurants offer mineral waters as well as sparkling waters (often in various flavors). Find your favorite and make it a regular choice for dining out.

  • Have water in your car and at your desk. Where do you spend lots of time or find yourself getting thirsty? If you’re a desk jockey, make sure there’s water within reach. And never drive off in your car without water!

Activities that improve your flexibility

Group of people doing yoga

Did you know that sitting for long periods can reduce your flexibility? Or that our muscles become shorter and less elastic as we age?

Fortunately, there are numerous activities that can help keep us loose and limber, and stretching is just one of them. In fact, there’s even more than one type of stretching.

Read on for 5 great ways to increase and maintain your flexibility.

  • Start with dynamic stretching. Warm up your muscles for activity with dynamic stretches, which involve moving versus holding a position. For example: arm circles, walking lunges, alternating knee-to-chest stretches.

  • Check out yoga. Whether you go to a class or find one online, yoga is a good option for enhancing your flexibility and balance. Plus, it can be as relaxed or as challenging as you want. Explore different classes to see what you prefer.

  • Get a foam roller. Place the roller under a targeted area of tightness (such as your hamstrings, glutes, or hips). Then simply roll around, using your body weight to massage the muscles, relieve tension, and increase flexibility.

  • Learn tai chi. This centuries-old Chinese practice is a low-impact way to improve your flexibility, range of motion, and leg strength. Breathe slowly and deeply through a series of guided movements. Bonus: It’s now online too.

  • End with static stretching. To avoid injury, static stretches—such as touching your toes, sitting in the butterfly position, or clasping your hands behind your back—are best reserved for after your workout.

Note: Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. Talk to your provider if you experience any pain while stretching.

Tips for safer physical activity

When you’re living with type 2 diabetes, exercise can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity routine.

Once you’ve gotten the thumbs up, however, it’s time to get excited...and prepared. Here are our experts’ tips on what you should do before, during, and after exercise to prevent issues such as low blood glucose or blisters.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after your physical activity to prevent dehydration. Going on a hike or bike ride? Consider an easily accessible water bottle that attaches to your bike frame or backpack.

  • Take care of your feet. Wear comfy athletic shoes that fit well and socks that wick moisture away. This can help prevent blisters that can turn into serious infections for people with diabetes. If you still get blisters, sores, or other foot injuries, call your provider if they don't begin to heal within 2 days.

  • Carry a medical ID. Whether it’s an ID card in your pocket or wearable ID jewelry, it’s helpful in the event of an emergency. This is especially critical if you use insulin or a sulfonylurea medication, such as Glipizide.

  • Check your glucose. Note your glucose levels before and after your activity so you can learn how your glucose changes. You may also want to have a carb snack, juice, or glucose tablets on hand in case your glucose gets low.
    • If your glucose gets low while you’re active, try the Rule of 15: eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbs (e.g. juice, glucose tablets), wait 15 minutes, and then recheck your glucose to make sure it’s above 70. If not, repeat these steps.

Create your FITT plan today

When it comes to physical activity, half the battle is finding something that you enjoy, that fits your schedule, and that matches your fitness level.

That’s where a FITT plan comes in, as it makes it easy to come up with a routine that’s both doable and exciting for you. Because when you’re enthused about it—versus dragging your feet—you’re more likely to keep it up. And have fun!

So, what does FITT stand for? Here’s a quick breakdown, as each letter represents an important component of your plan:

  • Frequency—How many days a week will you do this activity? Can you do 5 days a week of shorter sessions? Or does it work better to do 2-3 days a week, with perhaps longer sessions?

  • Intensity—How hard will you push? And if you don’t know yet, it’s okay to work your way up in intensity or try out a combination of low, medium, and high-intensity activities.

  • Time—How long do you plan to be active? Or rather: how much time can you realistically fit in on a workday or weekend? You may also want to consider possible time slots such as during lunch or before/after work.

  • Type—What do you truly enjoy doing? Physical activity is anything that gets you moving. Think about what you might find appealing, such as yoga, hiking, swimming, biking, playing tennis or basketball, or something else.

Not sure about one or more components? The Onduo Care Team can work with you to figure out the missing pieces of your very own FITT plan.

Note: Please talk with your healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity routine.

The benefits of getting up at the same time

You can’t always control when you fall asleep at night—but you can set an alarm to wake up at a certain time. And getting up at the same time each day is a great way to improve your whole sleep schedule.

In fact, your morning alarm can be a tool for adjusting your bedtime to something more optimal, getting more sleep, improving your energy, and even taking some of the stress out of your daily routine.

  • Shift your sleep schedule. Are you staying up too late? Try setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier a few days in a row. You’ll find you may start to get sleepy earlier, and soon you’ll be able to move up your bedtime as desired.

  • Have more control over sleep. A regular wakeup time gives you more confidence and consistency at bedtime. On top of that, getting your mind and body used to a routine can help you have more daytime energy.

  • Create a peaceful start to the day. Skip the stress of oversleeping and having to rush to get ready. Instead, ease into your day with a predictable series of activities, such as stretching, a short walk, and a healthy breakfast.

Why outdoor exercise can’t be beat

If you’ve ever thought that exercising outdoors simply feels better, you’re not wrong. Research shows that getting your sweat on outside has extra benefits beyond those seen with an indoor workout. And the exposure to sunlight is just the beginning.

In many ways, we can thank the pandemic for reminding us how good it can feel to move our bodies outdoors. Nature became our gym over the last year, and a mighty fine one at that. In fact, to keep the trend going, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently kicked off a campaign called Moving Together Outside to push for even more access to outdoor public spaces.

What do they know that everyone else should? Read on to find out about the unique benefits that outdoor activity can offer.

  • It relieves brain fatigue. A Scottish study found that simply walking through a green space such as a park—even in the middle of a busy city—can lessen mental fatigue, reduce frustration, and calm the mind.

  • Working out can be easier. With changing terrain and plenty of things to look at, outdoor activity tends to have pleasing distractions that take your mind off of whether you feel tired. The result? You can often exercise for longer.

  • Less stress and more relaxation. Numerous studies have found that being in nature—or “forest bathing”—can combat stress and boost relaxation. For people with diabetes, it has even been shown to lower blood glucose levels.

  • More vitamin D for immunity. Exposure to sunlight enhances our body’s production of vitamin D, which plays an important role in supporting our immune system and reducing inflammation in the body.

  • It stimulates all 5 senses. Unlike exercising in a walled-in room, the outdoors offers an array of colors, sounds, smells, sensations, and even sometimes tastes. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the wind, and marvel at the beauty.

  • Better self-esteem and mood. A British study that looked at several types of green spaces found that spending time in all of them improved the self-esteem and moods of both men and women of all ages.

5 great new reasons to stay active

Need some motivation for being physically active? Or even doubling down on your goals? Well, you now have more reasons than ever.

Periodically, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) updates their Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In the most recent edition, they highlighted 5 newly identified benefits of regular physical activity. That brings the total number of scientifically-backed “strong or moderate” health benefits listed in the guidelines to 20...and counting!

Find out about the latest research and how the evidence for physical activity as a driver of health only continues to grow.

Newly identified benefits of physical activity

Research has consistently shown that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes, and that additional benefits occur the more you exercise. Below are the most recent “moderate to strong.” benefits to officially be added by HHS.

For everyone

  • Brain health benefits, including possible improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life
  • Lower risk of cancer at a greater number of sites than previously known

For pregnant women

  • Reduced risk of excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression

For people with various chronic conditions

  • Lower risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality, improved physical function, and improved quality of life

For older adults

  • Reduced risk of fall-related injuries

Looking for ways to up your physical activity and reap these benefits? Find ideas in our Activity and Exercise section.

Cardio ideas for all body types

it’s still a great time to start new habits. Perhaps you’ve been focusing on eating better or getting enough sleep. But how are you doing on the activity front? Have you found a form of cardio to get you through the heart of winter? If not, we’ve got you covered with our latest tips.

Fire up your heart rate with these favorite activities!

  • Try old school calisthenics. Don’t like fancy equipment or guided workouts? Create your own routine simply by doing reps of classic moves, such as jumping jacks, walking lunges, push-ups, squats, or sit-ups. You choose!
  • Kick butt with kickboxing. Work out your frustration and gain confidence at the same time. A punching bag isn’t always necessary, just a fighting spirit. Kickboxing also lets you progress at your own pace and modify as needed.
  • Bring your bike inside. If you love bicycling—a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on the joints—consider turning your bike into a stationary ride for the winter. This can be done with either a bike trainer or a roller bike stand.
  • Walk to your own beat. Similarly, if walking is your thing, there are also some winter sub-ins. For example, try marching in place or doing things like high knees, butt kicks, stepping side to side, or going up and down stairs.
  • Hit the dance floor. Figuratively speaking, that is. Dancing queens and kings may find it easiest to get their cardio from a booty-shaking workout. Discover the many types on YouTube—from hip hop to Latin dance to Bollywood.
  • See how far you’ve come. Stay motivated by logging your cardio activities in the Onduo app. Plus, if you carry your smartphone with you, the app will automatically count your daily steps.

Move and groove with our cardio playlists!

Woman in snow square

6 ways to keep moving in the winter

Yes, the weather outside may be frightful. But that’s no reason to let your exercise goals fall to the wayside—especially when we all need the physical and mental benefits more than ever.

Here are some ways to keep moving, even when the days are short and the temperature won’t stop dropping.

  • Embrace the snow. Live somewhere frosty? Try out snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, both of which burn major calories. Even just playing in the snow—not to mention shoveling it—gets the heart pumping.
  • Vary your workouts. Don’t despair if the gym’s closed. There’s no shortage of things you can do at home, from workout videos to YouTube fitness channels to exercise apps. Rotate through several to keep things fresh.
  • Get outside at lunch. Boost your mood and immunity with a midday walk. If you bundle up in layers, you may find that the colder air is not only invigorating, but you can also walk longer than if it were hot and humid.
  • Dance your heart out. Turn up the volume for 5 favorite songs, bust out some moves, and guess what—you’ve just gotten in 15 minutes of fun cardio. For more intensity, do jumping jacks or butt kicks during the chorus.
  • Wear exercise clothes. If you’re working remotely, here’s a great mental trick: put on workout or walking gear in the morning, and it’ll help ensure that you exercise. If you don’t, you’ll feel pretty sheepish at the end of the day.
  • Rethink your desk. Are you sitting all day? Consider putting a standing desk, treadmill desk, or bike desk on your wishlist. With TheFitDesk, you can even get a compact bike or elliptical that goes under your current desk.

The benefits of cardio

When you think of cardio, jogging may immediately come to mind. But cardio—short for cardiovascular training—is essentially any activity that increases your breathing and heart rate. For example, walking/hiking, bicycling, swimming, water aerobics, rowing, kickboxing, and jumping rope are all forms of cardio.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise per week to improve your quality of life. That’s roughly 30 minutes 5 days a week, and the idea is not only to bring up your cardio fitness level, but also lower your health risks.

Here’s just a sampling of what regular cardio can do:

  • Burn calories and help control your appetite
  • Strengthen your heart as well as your muscles
  • Enhance your mood, thanks to the release of feel-good chemicals
  • Increase your stamina and endurance, so you don’t tire as quickly
  • Reduce arthritis pain and stiffness through joint movement
  • Improve your brain’s ability to reason, plan, and problem solve
  • Help prevent or manage high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes

Getting started with cardio is as simple as picking a favorite activity that gets your heart rate going and gradually increasing how long and how intensely you do it. How do you know when you’ve reached a “moderate” cardio level? Think of it as a 6 or 7 on a scale of 10. If you’re breathing fast and working hard, you’re on the right track!

Man plays basketball with young son

5 tips for getting moving

Some things don’t change, like the way exercise can help with your glucose control (and your sense of accomplishment). Here are some great ways to fit it in right now:

Rethink your old commute time. Pre-pandemic, did you spend time commuting every morning and evening? Why not use those slots for a head-clearing walk to start and end your workday?

Find virtual exercise buddies. Use video platforms to connect with friends and work out together. Not only does it make you accountable, but you can get in some catch-up time too.

Set a timer to get up and move. Program your phone or watch to prompt you to do things like jumping jacks, push-ups, or going up and down stairs.

Go online with your favorite trainers. Many are now offering virtual workouts that you can do from home with little or no equipment. Check social media for details.

Head outside for some fresh air. When you’re going stir-crazy, nothing feels better than a hike, jog, or bike ride. Note your state’s orders, wear a mask if around others, and keep up your social distancing.

Two women walking and laughing resized

6 easy ways to take more steps

You’ve probably heard about taking the stairs or parking at the far end of the lot. Once you’ve worked those in, what else can you try? Note your state’s orders, wear a mask if around others, and keep up your social distancing. Here are some ideas:

  • Turn any wait into a walk. Will it be 20 minutes before your outdoor table is ready? Walk around to pass the time.
  • Get moving during your TV time. Take advantage of commercial breaks—circle the sofa or go up and down the stairs until your show returns. Or keep that heart rate up and march in place while you watch.
  • Use the buddy system. Whether walking with a friend, your significant other, or your dog, it’s good to have someone who’s counting on you. Schedule a regular “date walk” with your favorite humans or four-legged friends.
  • Let us count your steps. Did you know the Onduo app will track your steps if you take your phone? Measuring—and then slowly upping—your steps can help you stay motivated, set and achieve goals, and learn about your body.
  • Change up the scenery. If you’re tired of your neighborhood, check out some new terrain, like a school track, a nearby park, or a nature trail. Or pretend you’re a tourist and take a tour of your town.
  • Create challenges. While you’re walking, try speeding up when you hit shady spots and slowing down in sunny stretches. It’s a fun way to push the pace and get your heart pumping. Get creative and make your own challenges!

Note: Before starting a new activity, consider talking to your healthcare provider to learn how much activity is right for you.