Diabetes and Exercise: Keep Your Fitness Goals on Track

You’ve made the commitment to make exercise a part of your diabetes plan. Some days will be harder than others, especially when schedules and life’s challenges can take you off course in a split second. But the key is to keep your eye on the end goal: to manage your diabetes, shed unnecessary weight and maintain it for a lifetime.

  • Set realistic goals. So you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Is it doable? Well, if all you do for a month is exercise several hours a day and drastically cut your calories, maybe. But it’s not realistic or healthy. Experts say 1-2 pounds a week is a healthful way to shed pounds. To reach your fitness goals successfully, you need to set sensible goals. For example, 5-6 pounds in 30 days makes sense. If you lose more, great! Whatever your motivation to lose weight (eat healthier, strengthen your muscles or to build endurance), monitoring your success in small, doable steps will help you achieve your goal.
  • Schedule your workouts. Fit exercise into your schedule like you do the other important events in your life. You have to work to earn money. You have to work out to earn a healthier lifestyle. Pick a time that’s best for you, whether it’s early mornings, afternoons or evenings. Make sure you choose a time that’s in line with your meal and medicine times.
  • Track your progress. It’s a good idea to keep a diet and workout journal. Jot down when you fun an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill or when you lose 2 pounds. Write down what you eat every day, even if you’ve cheated. Being honest with yourself will help you stay on track. It’s also a good record of your journey toward a healthier lifestyle.
  • Be accountable to someone. It’s best to workout with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if you have a low blood-sugar reaction. But, if you have trouble staying motivated, reaching your goals with a friend or a family member can help. Find a workout partner who will expect you to be at the gym. Tell people around you about your diet changes so that they can help encourage you to eat right. There’s nothing like a little pressure to help keep you going!
  • Always be prepared to work out. Before you tuck yourself in at night, have your workout bag packed and ready to go. Get your lunch ready along with your snacks for the next day. The better prepared you are, the less likely it’ll be for you to slip-up.
  • Take your measurements. Have a way to check your weight loss regularly. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink, and do it once a month. Ask an expert to check your body fat composition. Or, for a low-tech and low-cost solution, take your  measurements with a tape measure. Get a size too-small pair of pants and see  or noticing a difference in the way your clothes fit. If you can get into those “skinny” jeans, you’ve made progress. And if you feel better with your diabetes, then you’re really doing something!
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