Finding the Motivation to Exercise
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Motivation to Exercise

The rain is lashing down, your favourite TV show is about to start, and the last thing you feel like doing is getting up and exercising.

It’s all very well planning a nice brisk walk when the weather is warm and dry, or even frosty and crisp, but when it is damp, getting dark, or you are tired after a long day, how can you motivate yourself to move?

The primary thing to remind yourself is that management of diabetes is much more likely to be successful if you build exercise into your routine.

Exercise can help keep blood glucose levels stable, which leaves you at much less risk of heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and other nasty complications.

It’s vital to make whatever form of exercise you choose regular and manageable. Spurts of intensive sporadic exercise interspersed with bouts of inactivity just send your blood glucose levels rollercoastering.

How to Get Yourself Moving

Find a form of exercise you can do regularly. It’s great thinking of taking up skiing, but if you don’t have snow in your region for much of the year or access to an indoor ski slope you are not going to be able to keep it up.

If you know you hate the gym, don’t sign up for a year’s membership as a knee-jerk reaction just because your HbA1c was not ideal — try and find something you won’t mind doing week after week.

If you like dancing, join a dance class or a fitness class which is dance-based like Zumba or Jazzercise. Either way you don’t need a partner, but sometimes it is nice to find a friend who will join you on your fitness journey.

You could share rides and motivate each other to actually attend classes each time. If you are not confident, you can both stay at the back of the class and laugh together when your grapevine move goes in the opposite direction to everyone else’s.

Making the Time

You need to think about how you can make it as easy as possible to exercise. Work out what time of day is best for you, and when your motivation is likely to be highest.

If you know that after work, or at the end of a busy day, you are likely to just want to collapse with exhaustion, think about other times of day when exercising might be easier.

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Maybe you could get up slightly earlier and leave your partner in charge of the children while you go for a run or a bike ride. Early mornings can be beautiful and they give you a chance to see the area you live in with fresh eyes.

Check whether your local swimming pool does early bird sessions. You could get quite a few laps done and have a refreshing shower before heading off to the office feeling revitalised and dare I say it, a little bit smug!

Too busy at the end of the day? You can often find fitness and exercise sessions advertised in halls, community centers, churches and parks designed to fit in with kindergarten times or lunch hours.

If the thought of getting sweaty in between work or chores fills you with horror, look for a gentler form of exercise like tai chi, yoga or Pilates. Exercise does not have to be carried out at breakneck speed to be good for you.

Ditch the Excuses

You might be using caring for small children as your excuse for avoiding exercise. You are probably thinking that all the running around after them you do is exercise enough.

Unfortunately this is not the case, so you might want to look for a stroller fitness group in your area. This allows parents and caregivers to take the children along in their strollers, and usually incorporates a brisk walk and short stops for on-the-spot exercises. It’s a great way to make new friends too!

Can’t find a group? Why not start your own informal stroller walk group with friends from school or your neighborhood. If you set a time each week to meet you are more likely to make the effort to go along.

You could also try looking for a fitness class that offers nursery facilities. The thought of a break from your toddler might make the prospect of exercising more attractive.

Exercise Doesn’t Have to Cost Money

Finances should not be a barrier to exercise. If things are tight, check out online exercise videos or design yourself a workout program that builds in the household chores.

For instance, instead of piling things at the bottom of the stairs until you have a bundle to take up, take each item one at a time — that’ll help keep you fit.

You don’t always need to spend money on expensive branded fitness clothing and shoes either — usually your grocery store leisure wear and sneakers will be fine unless you plan to run marathons.

It is important to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new form of exercise. If you really are at a loss where to find a group or class, it’s highly likely your doctor or diabetes nurse can point you in the direction of something suitable in your area.