Exercise and physical activity have many health benefits and can boost your mood and energy level, too. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start or how to stay motivated to stick with it. Here’s a guide for finding the right program for you.
Having a friend, family member, or co-worker exercise with you can help you stick with it when you are feeling less motivated. Exercising with other people can make it a social activity, too.
If you like dancing, search for a community center or studio that hosts regular dances or look for an aerobics class or video that includes dance moves. If you enjoy being outdoors, you may want to make biking or walking part of your exercise program. If you are considering taking a class, check with the instructor or facility offering it to make sure it is appropriate for your health status and activity level.
Aim to mix up your routine so that you are doing some aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, and some muscle-building exercises , such as using light hand weights. Varying the type of exercise you do will also help prevent boredom.
If cost is an issue, seek out a low-cost or free community exercise program. Some community centers, city recreation centers, and hospitals offer fitness classes, and many schools open their pools to the public. Libraries often have exercise DVDs you can check out. If you do not have transportation, you can use free online exercise instructions and classes or create your own program by going for brisk daily walks and using inexpensive hand weights or resistance bands for strength training.
Tell your exercise buddy and class instructors that you have diabetes, and be sure to wear your diabetes identification (bracelet, tag, card) while exercising. Always have fast-acting sources of sugar with you, such as juice or hard candy, and bring water, too. Carry emergency phone numbers with you, as well.
You may feel tired or have sore muscles at first, but don’t let that discourage you. Try being active for 10 minutes at a time throughout the day, and build up your endurance over time. Once your body gets used to being active, you will probably notice you have more energy and a more positive mood from exercising.
Diabetes and Exercise, Medline Plus:
Exercising with Diabetes Complications, American Diabetes Association:
Fitness: Create a Program That’s Right for You, Mayo Clinic:
Get and Stay Fit, American Diabetes Association:
Tips to Help You Get Active, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
What I Need to Know about Physical Activity and Diabetes, National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse:
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.