How to Stick With an Exercise Routine for Diabetes

The more active you are, the easier it will be to manage your diabetes. Try these tips to boost your motivation and stick with your exercise routine.

Susan Amoruso
Reviewed by
Philip Levy, MD
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You've been exercising pretty regularly—then your friend comes to town, so you skip your nightly power walk. The next night, you’re tired from the evening before, so the walk falls through the cracks—again. Before you know it a whole week’s gone by and you just can’t seem to get back into the workout swing.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Even with the best of intentions, motivation fluctuates from week to week, according to a study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. The key? Calling on these strategies to refuel your commitment to fitness and reap the health rewards: better-controlled blood sugar, weight, blood pressure and circulation.

You can do it! Try these simple steps to stay inspired and get moving to better manage diabetes

Adjust your mindset
Stop thinking of working out as a dedicated activity that will take up a chunk of time. Fitness can mean any type of physical activity, from gardening to making beds. So if the gym or a class just isn’t for you right now, try seeking more opportunities to move throughout the day. Why not vow to never take an elevator when your destination is below the third floor? Or do a few squats while brushing your teeth.

Make a friendly bet
Money talks—and this goes for fitness motivation, too. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that financial incentives work when it comes to losing weight. How much money are you willing to lose or gain? Place a bet with a coworker, family member or friend on who could walk the most miles in a month. Start now and order a pedometer online and set a start date.

Let the clock fool you
Studies show that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with exercising than those who exercise at other times of the day. Can’t get out of bed? Set your cell phone alarm to 6:58 AM, your bedroom clock alarm to 7:00 AM and your partner’s alarm to 7:02 AM—and why not take it a step further and place the alarms in different rooms, even on different floors. Hey, if you still go back to bed, at least you started your day running around a little.

Make an exercise menu
Doing the same fitness routine over and over can zap your motivation. It’s just a matter of time before you get bored. Give yourself some fun choices instead—a walk in the park, a drop-in Zumba class, a bike ride, a hike with the kids. That way, you’ll stay out of a rut and be ready to match your activity to your mood and energy level.

Note: Some athletic wear stores have free drop-in fitness classes. It’s a great way to try Pilates, yoga and strength conditioning. So next time you’re at the mall, check out that shop instead of walking by.

October 2013