I’d like to show you 9 ways to motivate yourself to exercise, because, as you’ve probably heard (from me!), exercise is important for everyone. When you have Diabetes, however, it’s not just important, it’s vital.
Because of the multiple benefits of exercise, the American Diabetes Association recommends about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week. Another plan is to exercise 50 minutes, 3 days a week. You choose.
➡ Exercise improves insulin resistance and changes how the liver processes glucose and fat.
➡ It improves your blood pressure and lipid profile, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
➡ Physical activity builds muscle (and I don’t mean bulking up like weightlifters…but we all have muscles and they need to be strong to do their jobs.
➡ It also (of course) burns calories, which helps your efforts to lose weight.
➡ Regular fitness has even been shown to boost your mood.
Sometimes, however, just knowing the many benefits of exercise for diabetics isn’t enough.
You also need exercise motivation. Here are 9 ways to motivate yourself to exercise to stay focused, enjoy working out, and fit exercise into your life.
➡ If you find exercise boring, it may be time to change up your workout routine. This could mean changing the setting, increasing the intensity, or trying a new activity.
➡ Mixing workout types helps prevent boredom and keeps challenging new muscle groups.
➡ A combination of different types of aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening activities, and stretching is the best way to reduce diabetes symptoms.
➡ Get a moderate-intensity aerobic workout with brisk walking, biking, or swimming.
➡ Give something entirely new, such as martial arts or dance classes, a try. Mix those activities with resistance training and stretching a few days a week, and you’ll be well on your way to reducing diabetes symptoms.
Stretching can help improve your flexibility and decrease your risk of injury, but it also has specific benefits for diabetes.
Many people think stretching is just for warming up or cooling down their joints and muscles, but it actually helps improve diabetes symptoms.
➡ When your blood sugar gets too high it really affects all your blood vessels. But when you stretch, you stretch your vascular system and improve the health of your blood vessels.
➡ Classes that emphasize stretching, such as yoga, pilates, or tai chi, are also good to include in your weekly exercise mix.
➡ Seeing results from your hard work is a great motivator to keep at it.
Some people think they have to exercise for months to see results, but this isn’t actually the case. The physiology of the body is pretty incredible —
➡ Just ONE 10-20-minute bout of exercise lowers blood glucose within 2 to 72 hours. So get out there and your body will reap the rewards.
FOUR: Join Forces With Others
➡ You may be more likely to exercise if you work out in a group. Exercising alongside people who share your diabetes symptoms can be particularly motivating.
➡ Ask your doctor about diabetes support groups that may be connected to exercise programs.
Not only will you motivate yourself to exercise and see the positive outcomes in your blood sugar management, but you’ll be setting an important example for your loved ones.
➡ Try to make exercise something you and your family do together. For example, instead of sitting around after a big family meal to watch TV, consider going to a park and walking together, or even walk around your neighborhood while you chat about the day. You’ll have fun and you will all gain the exercise benefits.
➡ Treats and rewards are a great way to boost exercise motivation, always give yourself credit for your hard work with a reward.
Just make sure you don’t use food as a reward, which will take away from your exercise benefits and possibly aggravate diabetes symptoms.
➡ Instead, enjoy a massage or pedicure, catch up with a friend, buy a new tool for a hobby, or go shopping for a pair of jeans to fit your slimmer shape.
SEVEN: Think about the “Functional Equivalents” Of Exercising.
One of the most important benefits of exercise is that it improves the way people function, So think of these equivalents in your daily lives and use them as exercise motivation.
➡ For example, if you lift X amount of weights or walk X miles, not only will you reduce diabetes symptoms, you will have an easier time bending down to pick up your children or grandchildren, climbing the stairs from the subway, or standing on your feet all day.
Two diabetes symptoms that sometimes get in the way of exercise are fatigue and depression, such as when you catch yourself thinking, “I’m too tired to exercise” or “I just don’t feel like it.”
➡ Let your emotions inspire and motivate you.
➡ When you feel sluggish and discouraged are actually the best times to exercise. In fact, you’ll gain the most when you’re least in the mood to move.
➡ You can change your body chemistry with exercise and fight physical and emotional diabetes symptoms. That’s a good return on your investment of time.
You know that exercise will improve your diabetes symptoms, but be sure to remind yourself of all the other benefits you’ll gain as well.
In addition to lowering blood sugar, exercise helps with:
➡ Chronic pain, like lower back pain
➡ Exercise significantly lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease
➡ Exercise reduces stress and depression, and it can even improve your sex life.
It’s a no-brainer…So, get up and get moving!