Over the past six months I’ve adopted an exercise routine that has helped me reach a few but very significant health related goals, not the least of which is weight loss. This time around I’ve been more consistent and actually look forward to my (almost) daily workout.
Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery to burn calories, improve cardiovascular health and stamina and provide a much need outlet for stress.
I’m not a fitness guru or a health provide but I do have a few tips that helped me:
- Join a convenient health club close to home – this was a significant reason why I’ve been able to succeed. In this demanding age of overtime and activity, convenience saves driving time and encourages greater consistency.
- Starting out, avoid over-exertion – nothing kills an exercise program like soreness and exhaustion. You may be enthusiastic and anxious to get in shape but be patient and take it easy (at first)
- Design an exercise routine that is enjoyable – I picked the treadmill instead of a stair master for interval training and use free weights in preference to machines. Returning to the gym is so important that I prioritized those activities that I preferred above some that came highly recommended.
- Keep a journal of exercises, weights, distances, times, etc. which enables weekly progress to be seen - even though I was out of shape, seeing regular gains in strength and stamina were motivational. Later, looking back over months, I’ve been able to see significant improvement which would not have been remembered to the same degree
- Set realistic and practical goals – I decided not to dream of becoming an olympic pole vaulter but instead strive to burn fat, improve stamina and gain strength in specific ways. My goals were not tied to how I look but rather were aimed at improving health, managing blood sugar (and stress) and gaining energy so that I could be there for my family.
- During aerobic training, listening to book-on-tape or watching movies – the time simply slips away when I have something engaging to watch of listen to.
- Take guilt-free time off when needed – when you’re tired don’t feel guilty about resting – you need it.
On days in which motivation has been low, I went anyway and come back feeling refreshed and more energetic then when I left. Exercise is key to managing diabetes and good health in general – it improves both physical and mental performance. Further, discipline now provides freedom and opportunity to engage more activities later.