Diabetes and Exercise – Getting Started

Before you begin a fitness program, see your doctor for a thorough medical examination. Your fitness plan should be tailored to your individual physical condition and health needs. Once you have the go-ahead from your doctor and understand any limitations you may need to observe, it’s time to think about what activities you want to include in your fitness program.

Diabetes and Exercise – Select activities you enjoy

Men having exercise for diabetes
by glenmcbethlaw under CC BY

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Choose a form of exercise that fits your interests. If you like the outdoors or solitude, running, walking or bicycling may be good choices. If you prefer being around others, you might enjoy an aerobics class or a golf group. If you prefer watching television or listening to music or books on tape while you work out, a stationary bicycle or treadmill may be options to consider.

Important note on diabetes and exercise – keep in mind that if you have complications from your diabetic disease, certain types of fitness activity may not be good choices. For example, if you’ve lost feeling in your feet, swimming is better than jogging or walking. If you have trouble seeing or experience frequent episodes of low blood sugar, it may be best to exercise indoors or with a friend.

Schedule your exercise

Set aside time in your day for exercise. Write it down on your calendar or to-do list. You’re more likely to make exercise a part of your daily routine if you do it at the same time each day instead of “whenever I have time.” Of course, occasionally you’ll need to reschedule or miss your exercise appointment, such as when you’re sick or away from home. Skipping exercise to watch television, however, isn’t a good excuse.

Set goals and track your progress

It’s helpful to set goals because reaching a goal gives you encouragement. The key is to set goals that are specific and realistic. If you set a goal that’s not attainable within a fairly short time, you’ll be discouraged. Instead of starting out with a goal of jogging for 45 minutes 5 days a week, begin with a goal of walking for 20 minutes three times a week.

Once you’ve reached that one, you can move on to a new, more challenging goal. Consider keeping a log of your progress. An exercise log helps you see what you’ve accomplished and determine your goals for the future.

Vary your routine

Next to lack of motivation, boredom probably kills more exercise programs than anything else does. You can keep things interesting by varying your activities. You might ride a bicycle one day, walk the next and swim another day.

Choose activities that are convenient and fit with your lifestyle. Include activities for all times and seasons when you’re feeling energetic, when you’re not feeling as strong, when the weather is good and when it’s poor.

Exercise for diabetes can help you to have a longer and healthy life.

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