People with diabetes should exercise daily to maintain blood sugar control, burn calories and reach a healthy weight. They should make a fitness commitment dedicated to achieve their long-term health goals. Learn how to make the fitness commitment and stick to it so you can achieve your goals of good health.
State the Fitness Commitment Goals
Making a fitness commitment needs to be more than a vague statement that you will exercise more. It is important to state your specific goals and make a personal pledge that you will keep them. A specific goal is that you will exercise for 15 minutes every morning or attend aerobics classes at the gym on certain days. Other goals may include the length of time you will work out each day and losing 2 pounds monthly utilizing exercise and a healthy diet. Write your goals down and maintain a diet and fitness journal to help gauge your progress. A recent study revealed that 30 minutes of exercise each day with a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent can decrease the progression of diabetes by up to 58 percent. Knowing the facts can help you stay focused and motivated. Get someone involved who will hold you accountable.
Make Small Changes to Your Routine
Focusing on fitness can be a challenge for people who have been sedentary for most of their life. Make small changes to your routine that can add up to increased physical activity each day. Take the stairs rather than an elevator. You should park further from your destination to encourage walking a longer distance. Do stretches at your desk and exercise for half your lunch break. Do balance exercises while you brush your teeth and wash the dishes. Take a 10-minute walk after each meal for a total of 30 minutes of physical activity. Start with a 10-minute workout each day. Add a second 10-minute workout the next week, than a third the following week. Try to walk for a full 30 minutes after your first month of movement. Doing this just 5 days a week can improve blood sugars.
Remember Strength and Flexibility Training
Walking, biking, dancing and other aerobic activities help you burn calories and have a healthier heart. These activities will lower your blood pressure as well as raise your healthy HDL cholesterol level. But stretching and strength training are also important for strong muscles and bones. Weight and fitness training should be part of your weekly routine. Try lifting cans to build strength in your arms. Use resistance bands or low-weight dumbbells to strengthen your arms, legs, and abdomen. Join a YMCA or local community center that has a circuit line of weight machines. Make sure you are properly trained before you start to prevent injury. Doing resistance training three times a week for 30 minutes will help tremendously. Try stretching exercises that can help boost flexibility and reduce stress, such as Tai chi, ballet, Pilates or yoga.
Make a Plan
Making a plan can help you stay committed and focused to fitness. Attending classes at a specific time can help you stay on track. Competitive sports teams are another way to make a commitment by joining a team that depends on your participation. Seek an activity you enjoy so you look forward to doing it. Plan to meet a friend or neighbor for a daily walk. Offer to walk the dog every night so you are compelled to get moving. Accountability really works.
Mix It Up
Often people get bored with the same exercise routine. Try a variety of different fitness options to stay engaged. Get fitness DVDs or a home gym so you can workout at home during inclement weather. Consider working out in the morning so nothing gets in the way of your fitness routine. You will boost your metabolism and have peace of mind knowing you already fit exercise into your busy schedule. Be flexible if something interrupts your usual exercise routine and make plans to workout in the afternoon or evening.
Celebrate Small Victories and Dress the Part
Dressing for fitness helps you stay focused on exercising and may help your fitness commitment. Get comfortable sneakers and well fitting socks to protect your feet. Purchase attractive workout gear so you feel ready to move. Wear bright colors especially if you are walking in the dark. Dress for the temperature so you are not cold or do not get overheated. Be proud of small victories, such as fitting exercise in a few days during the week or doing stretches every day at your desk. Build on your accomplishments and put yourself in the mindset for getting fit and staying that way. Identify your pitfalls and find ways to address them. Work toward your eventual goal of 5 days of fitness.
Get the Facts
Seeing an improvement in your health can help you stay committed to fitness. Monitor your blood glucose occasionally before and after workouts. Use a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure. Keep a record of your results to share during routine medical exams. You will be pleasantly surprised when you see an improvement in your numbers. Always consult with your doctor before starting any fitness routine. Inquire if it could be beneficial to work with a dietitian, diabetes nurse educator and/or personal trainer.
Making a commitment to fitness is also making a commitment to improving your overall health with diabetes. Start with small fitness victories and build on them to stay motivated. With some dedication, fitness can become a fun, healthy part of your daily life!