Get Started with an Exercise Program and Stick to It

3 Tips to Improve Physical Activity Adherance

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As the weather begins to warm up, you may find yourself thinking about how you'll get in some more physical activity. Regular exercise is an extremely important for blood sugar and weight control. Physical activity can also have favorable effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, energy, sleep and quality of life. Whether you are looking to prevent diabetes, lose weight, or improve your numbers, getting involved in regular physical activity can help you achieve your goals.

The most difficult part is getting started and sticking with it. In fact, studies show that individuals with diabetes are among the least likely to engage in physical activity and stick to it. One of the biggest barriers is the lack of company. Other factors typically include pain, tiredness, lack of interest and time, depression, and difficulty. The solution? Researchers have found that social support plays an important role in adoption and maintenance of regular physical activity. Support from family, friends and healthy care providers can be motivating. Confidence in your ability to exert control over your motivation is also important. Get invested today. 

Find an Exercise Buddy:

Having someone to exercise with can be a huge motivating factor. A buddy is someone who keeps you accountable, motivates you when you are feeling tired, and challenges you in a positive way. Your buddy may be a spouse, a family member, a friend, or a colleague.

If none of those options work for you than your pet can be a suitable companion. Make sure to discuss what your health goals are prior to pairing up so that you don't feel intimidated or discouraged if you are not meeting your buddy's physical fitness level. Find an activity that you both enjoy doing and schedule it into your week as you would a meeting or appointment.

Odds are that after you've spent some time in this new routine, you'll look forward to your weekly workout sessions. 

Take Control Over Your Motivation: 

Finding your inner motivation is definitely a challenge. Overcome this challenge by setting realistic, time sensitive and tangible goals - both short term and long term. Goal setting is important for sustaining motivation. Once you've reached a goal, set a new one so that you never get bored and you continue to feel accomplished. An example of a short-term goal would be: "I am going to walk three days this week for 20 minutes." An example of a long-term goal would be: "I am going to complete a 5k walk on May 20th." Both types of goals are achievable and leave room for growth. 

Another way to take control and get motivated is to invest in a tracking device to measure and support your milestones. You may want to use an app, a pedometer or a fit band to track and log steps, weight loss, calories or whatever aspect of fitness you'd like to measure.

You can even use your blood glucose meter as a motivational tool. Exercise typically lowers blood sugars - persons with Type 2 diabetes that see that response are more likely to continue to exercise. All of these measuring tools can help you to sustain and restore energy and motivation.   

Make if Fun:

The great part about exercise is that it can be anything you want it to be. All movement counts. If you are doing something you find joy in, you're more likely to keep doing it. If you hate to run - don't. Instead, participate in a spin class or a yoga class. Where you exercise will help you too. If you are the type of person who belongs to a gym, but never goes, then don't sign up for the gym. Instead, find outdoor exercises you enjoy - ride your bike, go for a swim or a walk. Or exercise in the convenience of your own home - use a program like Wii Fit or invest in a set of dvds. The possibilities are endless. 


Qui, Shan-hu, Sun, Zi-lin, Cai, Xuy, Liu, Lili, Yang, Bingguan. Improving Patients' Adherence to Physical Activity in Diabetes Mellitus: A Review. Diabetes Metab J. 2012 Feb; 36(1): 1–5. Accessed on-line:

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