Starting an Exercise Program: Manage Your Diabetes and Get Moving!
The hardest part of exercising is actually getting started! Lacing up your running shoes. Driving to the gym. Figuring out which weights to lift. Wheeling out your bike. Joining that pilates class. Those first few steps seem to get pushed back in the day or side stepped for something “more urgent.” But your health is one of the most urgent things in your life! Exercising, along with smart nutrition, is one of the best ways to control your blood sugar. Working out causes your muscles to become more sensitive to insulin, so your blood glucose can get into your cells better. Your blood sugar level drops while you exercise but it also has been shown to stay lower after exercising. Think what a difference regularly exercising can make! Recent studies have told us two new things about starting exercise: The first: Individuals that are able to internally motivate themselves to start exercising and to put effort into their workouts have the best exercise and weight loss/weight maintenance results up to three years later. The second: Most people need a specific plan or structured program to start exercising and to keep exercising. Knowing this, you can equip yourself to start the best exercise program for you that will give you the best health results! Here are some words of encouragement to help you get over that exercise hump and just get going. Check out this previous blog post about checking your blood sugar before, during and after exercising. You have to get moving, but you also need to be smart about it.
- Pick activities that are simple and action-oriented. You don’t need to buy an expensive gym membership or a pricey treadmill. Start with easy activities like walking in your neighborhood, running at the local high school track, exercise videos, pilates at home, swimming at theYMCA, and so many more options.
- Internalize your desire to be healthy and get revved up. If you know the healthy results and benefits of exercising and your health is important to you, getting going will be easier. You will have extreme motivation!
- Focus on exercise as a constructive thing. It really is a great activity for your heart, your mind, your health. Exercise is not the bad guy lurking in the dark to make you miserable. So flip flop how you think about physical activity, so it becomes upbeat and positive.
- Track your exercise and progress. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable and to motivate yourself. You’ll see progress like being able to walk your normal neighborhood route faster than you did a month ago. You’ll know when you are ready to increase the weights that you are lifting. And you’ll see that your efforts are paying off.
- Make exercise meaningful. Associate your daily exercise with valuable time or memories. This can be a walk with your sister every weekend to catch up. A yoga class every morning to collect your thoughts. A run through the park that your kids played in. Listen to an audio book while you exercise.
- Set specific and measurable goals. It is easier to work at something when you know what you are trying to achieve. Start a walking program with the goal to be able to walk two miles in under 20 minutes. Lift weights with the goal of doing 10 push ups without stopping. Start with goals you know you can accomplish and write them down.
- Treat your workouts like appointments and put them on your calendar. You wouldn’t miss a meeting with your boss or a lunch date with your best friend would you?!
- Invest in the right gear. Get comfy, padded running shoes that fit correctly. Buy a helmet if you plan to bike outside or a pedometer if you plan to walk. Invest in a tennis racket and tennis balls if you live close to a court. If you put money into something, you’ll be more likely to do it.
- Create a workout group or make a pact with a workout buddy. You’ll have other people to motivate you and push you. Some people prefer to workout with a friend because talking keeps their mind off of the exercise. But if having a friend with you distracts you so you end up not working, try to workout solo.
- Have fun and recognize your accomplishments. If you absolutely hate running, don’t try it! Start slowly with activities that you actually enjoy: dancing, walking, bicycle riding, ice skating, snow shoeing, team sports, water aerobics…the options are endless so you can surely find an activity that gets you excited. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back when you reach a goal or workout 5 times a week. It is a huge accomplishment and you should fee very good about yourself.
The most important thing to remember is that you have to get started. Thinking about it and making plans are necessary. But if you don’t actually start moving, you won’t get the benefits. Talk with your doctor before you start exercising for the first time in awhile. He or she will also have great suggestions to help you get moving and to move safely. You can do it! Get up and get moving. Your health is worth it!