How to exercise - and like it!
“I’m too old.” “I’m too overweight.” “It’s just not worth the effort.” Have you ever used these excuses not to exercise? You’re not alone. But the benefits of getting active include more energy, reduced blood sugar levels, weight loss and more—so it’s time to stop talking yourself out of it and start moving!
In his book, Diabetes Burnout: What to Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore, Dr. William Polonsky explains seven ways to overcome exercise resistance:
- Make it fun. “Search for activities that are fun, enjoyable or rewarding for you—especially if exercise seems boring or you haven’t been able to stick with an exercise program,” says Dr. Polonsky. Think about what you like to do—walking the dog, swimming laps—and then try a different activity each week to avoid boredom.
- Make it convenient. If the health club is a 20-minute train ride away, it will be easier to talk yourself out of going. Make your activities as convenient as possible (like finding a gym closer to home) or try other activities on those days when you don’t feel like making the trek (like walking around your block).
- Make it reasonable. If you’re just getting started with an exercise program, don’t set your goal too high. Create small goals for yourself so you enjoy early successes and stay motivated.
- Make sure you test. Dr. Polonsky explains, “If there is one single thing that can encourage people to keep exercising, it is seeing concrete, positive results from their own efforts.” Test your blood sugar before and after exercise to see the positive results for yourself.
- Make it an activity for two (or more). Everything is more fun with a friend! Not only will the time fly, but you can encourage each other to keep going.
- Make it safe. “Seek out professional advice—especially if you think exercise will cause your blood glucose to go too low or give you too much pain and discomfort,” advises Dr. Polonsky. Before you begin, talk with your doctor or even an exercise physiologist to devise a plan that works for you.
- Make it positive. Don’t allow yourself negative thoughts, like you’re too old, too overweight, or it doesn’t work anyway! “No matter how disappointing your past experiences may have been, the truth is that there is no one on this planet who is too old or too overweight to exercise,” says Dr. Polonsky.
Remember, becoming more active is something everyone can do. One step at a time is all it takes.
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Armstrong B. 11 Common Exercise Excuses (and How to Overcome Them). Quick and Dirty Tips [Internet]. 2018 Jan 2 [cited 2018 Jan 4]. Available from https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/exercise/common-exercise-excuses-and-how-to-overcome-them.
Polonsky, WH. Diabetes Burnout: What to Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 1999.