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How to start enjoying exercise

5 December 2019

You have probably heard, many times, that you need to exercise. But that just sounds like something else you “have to do”. What if we look at it a different way? So that it does not seem so much like a chore but more like something you have fun doing and you look forward to because it makes you feel good.

Take a minute to think about the things you like to do for fun and write them down. What does that look like? Hanging out 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
  • Walking
  • Badminton
  • Canoeing
  • Casual swimming
  • Gardening
  • Golf
  • Leisure cycling
  • Shuffleboard
  • Slow skating
  • Volleyball
  • Active cycling
  • Aerobic dance
  • Brisk walking
  • Energetic skating
  • Fencing
  • Lap swimming
  • Slow jogging
  • Square dancing
  • Tennis
  • Waterskiing
  • Basketball
  • Competitive swimming
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Fast/distance cycling
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Squash
  • Running
  • Football
  • Vigorous aerobic dance

The recommendation for most people1, is to aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 or more days a week. If your goal is to lose weight, you might try to increase to 45 to 60 minutes. That might sound like a lot. Maybe you have not been very active in a while. That is ok, we all start somewhere.

Try the exercise you selected above for just 5 or 10 minutes a day and work up to more time each week. Easy ways to get moving are to take the dog for a walk, ride your bike around the neighborhood, or have a dance party with your family after dinner.  Don’t think you can find 30-60 minutes each day? Rather than doing it all at once, try three 10-minute increments instead. Finding 10 minutes to take a walk after each meal will get you off on the right path.

woman exercise plan

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 hard-to-reach goals that may just become frustrating over time.
  • Choose activities you enjoy. Try a variety of different activities to keep things interesting. Think about your own personality - if you prefer to be with other people, exercise with a partner, participate in a league 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. And don’t forget your medical ID, just in case.
  • Be prepared. Always carry some form of carbohydrates1 while you exercise to treat low blood sugar. And keep your water bottle handy.
  • 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

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The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited or our publishers. 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 express or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

Sources:

  1. Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [Internet]. 2016 Nov 22 [cited 2018 Jan 8]. Bethesda, MD. Available from www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity.
  2. Realistic Goal Setting Helps People Stick with Exercise. Medical News Today [Internet]. 2005 Jun 4 [cited 2018 Jan 8]. Brighton, UK. Available from www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/25605.php.
  3. Diabetes & Exercise, Diabetes UK [Internet] [cited 2019 Nov 19]. Available from www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/exercise.

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