For good diabetes care, you'll typically need to make significant changes in your lifestyle. Among them: your diet and exercise habits. These are hard enough to change for people without a chronic condition, but diabetes can complicate them. The good news is that you don't have to go from couch potato to marathon runner - all you need to do is be a little more active as consistently as you can. Here are a few ideas for how to make that happen:

Start as small as you can

For most people, the eventual exercise goal is to spend 30 minutes moving moderately, five times a week. If this seems daunting to you - and there's no shame if it does - you can start smaller and build up to the recommended amount and types of exercise. If you aren't interested in joining a gym, that's fine. Instead, take the dog for a walk after dinner a few days a week.

Starting an exercise routine doesn't have to be intimidating.

As you get comfortable with this as part of your routine, extend the walks. Pretty soon, you'll be at or very close to your physical activity goals. The trick is not to pressure yourself and to be forgiving. This is a significant lifestyle change, so give yourself time and space to process it and get used to exercising.

Do something you love

Exercise doesn't have to feel like a punishment. Instead of treating it that way, try to give yourself reasons to look forward to physical activity. For example, if you're into dancing, give a class like Zumba a try. If you'd rather be alone with your thoughts, consider rambling through a local park or forest preserve as often as you can. There's no need to make exercise unpleasant or painful - and remember, you'll be shooting for moderate activity most of the time. This is not the stuff of triathlons, after all - it's only necessary for you to start moving and keep doing it.

If you're a social person, try to enlist a friend or two to attend exercise classes with you. Having the structure of a class can be great for your motivation, and if it's on your schedule, you're less likely to make an excuse to skip your exercise.

For more on diabetes and exercise:

Neuropathy and Exercise
Exercise Pre-Diabetes Away
Basic Guidelines for Aerobic Exercise