How to start enjoying exercise
You have probably heard, many times, that you ‘need’ to exercise. But that just sounds like something else you ‘have to do’. Here are some suggestions to help you look at it a different way, and make exercise feel less of a chore and more like something that you have fun doing and that you look forward to.
Take a minute to think about the things you like to do for fun and write them down. What does that look like? Spending time with your friends and/or family? Exploring new places or trying new things? What sounds more appealing – being indoors or outside? Your exercise program should be a reflection of you1 - your interests, abilities and fitness goals. All of these things can help you figure out what type of activities are right for you. Take a look at the list of examples below and pick a few things that sound like fun to you, or even come up with a few of your own.
|Light exercise||Moderate exercise||Intense exercise|
The recommendation for most people1, is to aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 or more days a week. That might sound like a lot, and maybe you have not been very active in a while. That is ok, we all start somewhere and can build it up gradually.
If you don’t think you can find 30 minutes each day, rather than doing it all at once, try three 10-minute increments instead. For example, finding 10 minutes to go for a walk after each meal is a good start.
How to stick with it
Keep in mind that getting more physical activity is a process that will evolve over time. If you are not especially active now, don’t overdo it. Start slowly, build up in increments that you can maintain, and think about the following:
- Set realistic exercise goals Perhaps you would like to lose 5 pounds (2 kg), walk up two flights of stairs without being winded or simply feel better when you wake up. A series of smaller goals is easier to achieve2 than those bigger goals that may be hard to reach and could become frustrating over time.
- Choose activities you enjoy Try a variety of different activities to keep things interesting. Think about your own personality and what you enjoy - if you prefer to be with other people, you could exercise with a partner, participate in a local walking group or join a class.
- Suit up properly The right equipment, clothing, and shoes can help you prevent injury. This especially applies to well-fitting shoes1 that don’t rub or create blisters. Don’t forget your medical ID, just in case.
- Be prepared If you take insulin or other diabetes medications that reduce your blood glucose levels, hypoglycaemia may be more likely to occur, especially following exercise. Your healthcare professional may suggest that you take less insulin/other medication, and/or carry some form of carbohydrate1
- Track your progress Write down your goals and achievements, and don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way. Posting a selfie and touting your accomplishment can do wonders to keep you on track and bring your friends and family along with you for support.
Before starting any activity program, you can talk to your healthcare team about what types and amounts of exercise1 are right for you. In addition, you'll want to discuss special considerations1 such as:
- How often you should check your blood sugar while exercising
- If/when you should have a snack, before or after exercising
- How to know if/when you should stop exercising
- When to call the doctor.
After reading this article, we hope you now feel more prepared and motivated to exercise and find activities that you enjoy. Remember, a small amount of exercise is a good start, and if you have fun doing it, you are more likely to stick with it!
The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.
- Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [Internet]. 2016 Nov 22 [cited 2023 March 29]. Bethesda, MD. Available from www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity.
- Diabetes & Exercise, Diabetes UK [Internet] [cited 2023 March 29]. Available from www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/exercise.