Written by: Alison Brinker, RD, LD, CDE
We are always being told how important it is to exercise no matter what our age or gender. We should be doing something within our limitations to keep our muscles active. The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 times per week. Exercise helps with blood sugar control. It can also improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Exercise builds muscle and burns calories to help with weight loss. I could go on for hours about how important it is for a person to exercise. I see people in my office every day with good intentions, but I realize it all comes down to staying motivated. If you don’t like to exercise, most likely you won’t. You may for a few days or even weeks, but making it a part of your lifestyle is when you see the real benefits.
Mix it up: If you are bored with your exercise routine, try to change things a bit. Change where you go to exercise, the type of exercise you do, or change the intensity. This will often mean you will use new muscle groups, so take it slow at first. This may be the perfect opportunity to try a new dance class or martial arts class. Incorporate resistance training or weight lifting and stretching for variety.
Monitor blood glucose: Checking your blood sugar after exercise will show you the benefit directly and may be the motivation you need to keep active.
Exercise with a partner: Some people are motivated by competition. Make your daily steps a “race” with a friend or family member using a pedometer or step counting device. Finding a friend to exercise with can make it more fun too. It can also make you more accountable. For example, if you are meeting someone to take a walk in the park, you won’t be as likely to skip it when you know someone is waiting for you.
Reward yourself: Rewards are a great way to boost motivation. When you reach an exercise goal, get a massage or buy a new tool for a hobby. Buy some new clothes to fit your slimmer shape or even new exercise clothes that you will be excited to wear. Don’t reward yourself with food which may raise your blood sugar and take away from your exercise benefits.
Consider the benefits other than better diabetes control: Exercise not only helps with diabetes control, but it can help with chronic pain related to some types of arthritis. It can also help reduce weight, and it can help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease by raising good cholesterol. Exercise is a great stress reliever and can help improve mood and decrease depression. Exercise can make us feel better overall. The more exercise you incorporate into your daily routine, the easier it will become for you to do other activities such as playing with your kids or grandkids, bending down to pick something up, or climbing the stairs.
Staying motivated can be one of the hardest parts of an exercise routine. Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Source: Living with Diabetes from Everyday Health