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Overcoming Barriers to Exercise for Diabetics

Do you struggle to be active? People living with diabetes often have physical, mental, or emotional barriers that prevent them from exercising. Consider what is keeping you from living a healthy and active lifestyle, and read some of our suggestions to overcome the most common barriers to physical activity.

I don’t have time to exercise every day.

Write out your daily schedule and examine it. Do you have available time slots, or can you move some things around to be more efficient? Exercising only 30 minutes each day will help manage your blood sugar and weight. Every step counts, start out with a few minutes every day and gradually increase your activity level. By examining your schedule, you can find time to set aside for exercise. You can even try to set two fifteen-minute sessions each day to compensate for even the busiest schedule. Making active choices such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator each day will also ensure your energy level stays up.

I’ve never been active and do not know how to start.

You might actually be more active than you think. Housekeeping, mowing the yard, and other chores count as activity, being active is more than just exercising. All journeys begin with the first step, if you have never been active, start slowly. Check with your healthcare provider before making big changes in your exercise plan. The best exercise is the one you will do consistently, so do not be discouraged if your activity is less strenuous than you would like. Choose an activity you will enjoy, and try to push yourself just a little further each day.

I’m too tired after work.

Find a time each day to exercise when your energy is at its highest. You could plan to be active before work, or during a break in the day. Remember, increasing your physical activity will greatly increase your overall energy level, so while you might feel too tired now, pushing yourself today will make the future easier.

I don’t have the right clothes.

The most important thing you need to exercise are clothes that are comfortable. Expensive gym equipment is not necessary, an old tee-shirt that is comfortable is great for the gym. Make sure you have shoes that fit well and socks that won’t irritate your skin.

I’m too shy to go to the gym.

This is one of the more common barriers, but don’t worry. There are plenty of exercises you can do in the privacy of your own home. Look up instructional videos on YouTube and exercise in your own room. However, if you wish to go to the gym be aware that there is no reason to be shy. Everyone at the gym is trying to improve or change something about themselves and are no different than you. You will always see people of all fitness levels at your local gym.

I’m afraid my blood sugar will get too low

If you are type 1 diabetic or taking a medication that could cause low blood sugar, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Just be prepared, take some Gatorade, glucose tabs, or fast-acting carbohydrates to help treat a low if one should occur.

I’m afraid I’ll make my condition worse.

Getting enough physical activity is important for everyone’s health, whether they are diabetic or not. Exercise helps lower your A1C among many other benefits. If you have specific complications that concern you, make sure to consult your doctor about how to safely begin exercise.

I simply lack the motivation to exercise.

If you want the benefits of exercise, plan and map out when and what you will do. Setting realistic goals can help motivate you and remind you what you are working toward. Invite a family member or friend to join you on a regular basis or find an exercise group or class in your community.

You can also work with a Physical Therapist to craft an exercise plan specifically for your needs and goals. Phoenix Osteopractic Physical Therapy is ready to help you, contact us at (972) 232-2310 or visit today!

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