Amy Tenderich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2003. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Diabetes Mine and co-authored the book Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. You will frequently find her speaking at diabetes, health, and social media events across the country.
According to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, these are seven of the most common reasons people state for not exercising:
- I’m too busy/not enough time
- I don’t want to exercise alone
- I need a safe place to exercise
- I’m afraid of injury and/or low blood sugar episodes
- I’m too old/too overweight to exercise
- Exercise is too hard/too boring
- I don’t like to sweat
Do you hear yourself in any of these? If you do, that's okay.
But regardless of the excuses you've made up in your mind, remember that the benefits of exercise far outweigh any inconveniences! And nearly everyone is capable of performing some type of physical activity that can improve their health.
What can you do to get past these barriers? Consider these strategies, extracted from our book, Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes:
Make the time
Turn your everyday activities into an exercise program, like walking laps around the park while you wait for your kids’ soccer practice to end. You can also:
- Combine exercise with another daily event.
- Treat your exercise like an important appointment you need to keep.
- Make exercise a ritual at the beginning or end of your day.
- Fight back against negative thoughts: remind yourself that regular exercise will give you more energy.
Find a buddy
If you’re in search of company, then you’ll want to get the word out to friends and neighbors:
- Is anyone interested in joining you for a weekly walk or run? Choose someone you want to catch up with and who you like talking to. This can help your mental health as well!
- Is there a friend or colleague who might meet you regularly at an exercise class?
- Could you simply go someplace where others around you are exercising, like a local gym? Most gyms have classes for beginners so you don't have to feel intimidated.
Locate a safe place
Your neighborhood may not be the perfect place to exercise. Whatever the reason, if you don't feel safe, you won't want to exercise. Think about:
- Exercising in your home. Try out a DVD or download an online at-home workout.
- Joining a local exercise group or class.
- Checking out local parks, community centers, or the YMCA in nearby towns where you could go to exercise.
Sweating is nature's way of keeping you cool, but some people find it annoying. To offset the discomfort, think about these options:
- Exercise at a time when you can shower afterwards.
- Be prepared with towels, water, etc. to keep yourself comfortable.
- Exercise at cooler times of the day or in a cool place.
- Use a portable fan to keep you cool when you exercise indoors.
- Avoid low blood sugar with frequent checks and a high-carb sugar snack available just in case.
Make it fun
You won’t stick with an activity that you dislike. To make exercise more appealing, think about these options:
- Start with an activity you enjoy and are able to do NOW.
- Don't try to exercise EVERY day. Choose the days during the week when it fits into your schedule, then stick to those days.
- Distract yourself: watch TV or listen to music or a book on tape while you exercise.
- Avoid frustration by aiming for fitness first, then weight loss.
Still have an excuse not to exercise? What is it? And is it more important than your health? Let us know in the comments.