Finding a Love of Movement: Planning to be Active as Someone Living with Diabetes
If you are living with Type II Diabetes, you likely already know about the importance of exercising. Being physically active can help manage your blood sugar levels and increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin (the hormone that allows your body’s cells to use blood sugar for energy). Being aware of the benefits of exercise is key, however one of the most important things you can do is actually PLAN to be active! So… how do you do this?
Think About What You Love To Do
If you really dislike a certain activity, don’t force it! When forming a plan to be active, the first thing you should do is brainstorm some activities that make you happy. Think about the things you love to do that involve moving your body. For example, perhaps you love playing with your children or grandchildren. Maybe you enjoy gardening, dancing, or walking your dog. Start by doing the things you enjoy, and then see if there are ways you can make those activities even more active (for example, have a dance party in the kitchen while waiting for your pasta to boil). Finding a love of movement will help physical activity start to feel like a natural part of your routine. Don’t forget to think about why it is so important to be active!
Set a SMART Goal
You may be familiar with SMART goals, but as a quick refresher, SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. Part of setting a SMART goal includes thinking about the W’s:
WHAT are you going to do?
WHEN will you do it?
WHERE will you do the activity?
WHO will you do it with (if applicable)?
HOW LONG will you do it for?
HOW will you do it?
Here’s a great example of a SMART goal: “I will go for a moderate to vigorous intensity bike ride around my neighbourhood for at least 20 minutes, twice per week, every week, for one month.”
Notice how the goal is specific and outlines the activity (biking), location (around the neighbourhood), intensity (moderate to vigorous), duration (20 minutes), and frequency (twice per week, every week for the month). Goals are an important part of drafting a plan to be active.
Schedule It In
Remember, it’s not about finding hours upon hours in your day to exercise. Just aiming to fit in 20 minutes of exercise a few times a week is a great start. Maybe you are going to plan to do a quick walk right after breakfast or before dinner! Find a time in your day that works for you, write it down, and do your best to commit to it.
Plan With a Friend in Mind
Having someone to exercise with is a great way to increase your accountability! When you plan to go for a walk with a friend at a certain time, you may be less likely to change the plan or find a reason to not go. Going for an outdoor walk is a great activity where you can also stay socially distanced!
Keep track of your physical activity using a journal or calendar – include your SMART goals as well. Tracking your progress is a great way to visually see changes and improvements, which may help you feel more motivated to keep up the great work! It also allows you to plan ahead, stay committed, and see patterns which can help you understand if you need to modify your routine. Make it happen, plan to be active today!
Are you looking for resources during COVID-19?
Start This Year Stronger Together! Access free, in-app health coaching and expert programs about preventing/reversing diabetes. Connect with peer-to-peer support while helping improve the quality of care for people in Canada who are living with/supporting someone with prediabetes. By joining our Stronger Together community, you’ll have virtual health support in the palm of your hand this winter while learning more about what you can do to improve your health and wellness. Follow along with daily discussions, Q&A with experts, peer insights and take part in a personalized program just for you! Spots are limited so join here now!
Canada needs a nation-wide diabetes strategy now—Diabetes Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2021, from https://www.diabetes.ca/