- 7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise if You Have Diabetes
- Why Exercise Is Important for Type 2 Diabetes Management
- How Much Exercise Do People With Diabetes Need?
- How to Stick With Your Exercise Plan
- 1. Take Baby Steps When Beginning an Exercise Routine
- 2. Choose a Physical Activity You Enjoy Doing
- 3. Use the Buddy System to Increase Accountability
- 4. Reward Yourself With Healthy Treats for Breaking a Sweat
- 5. Formally Schedule Your Sweat Sessions
- 6. Prep for Your Workouts a Day in Advance
- 7. Check Your Blood Sugar Before and After Exercise
- One Last Thing on Starting an Exercise Routine for Managing Diabetes
- From our collaborators at Johns Hopkins Medicine International | How exercise helps you de-stress
- Consider fitness a first line of medication
- Fatigue from fitness can be beneficial for sense of self
- Exercising in groups is motivating, offers new sources of support
- Exercise Motivation Your Heart Will Love
- Remind yourself of your big “why.”
- Track your progress
- Make it competitive
- Take up a sport you enjoy
- Unlock your blocks
- Johns Hopkins Tackles a Tragic Trend
- For women who have heart disease, exercise is critical
- Making time for fitness
7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise if You Have Diabetes
There’s no doubt that regular exercise is beneficial for people managing diabetes. At the most basic level, exercise increases insulin sensitivity, research shows, which affects weight and blood sugar levels.
While a pandemic may seem an inopportune time to start prioritizing physical activity, it’s anything but.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people with underlying health conditions, including those with diabetes are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, especially among those whose condition isn’t well managed. Thus, there’s no better time to put your health first.
RELATED: What People With Diabetes Must Know About COVID-19
Why Exercise Is Important for Type 2 Diabetes Management
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas, and your body needs it to deposit glucose, which is the body’s main source of energy, into your cells, says Jill Weisenberger, RDN, CDCES, who’s based in Newport News, Virginia, and is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss — Week by Week. Exercise helps train the body to use insulin better long term, Weisenberger says.
Exercising can be as simple as taking a walk — the trick is continuing to take those steps regularly to help you manage type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity can help boost your weight loss efforts, and even a small amount of weight loss — just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight — can improve your A1C, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
Regular exercise can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which helps lower your risk of heart disease, says Matthew Corcoran, MD, CDCES, an endocrinologist with Shore Physicians Group in Northfield, New Jersey, and founder of the Diabetes Training Camp in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
How Much Exercise Do People With Diabetes Need?
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), most adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes need at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every week, spread over a period of at least three days, “with no more than two consecutive days of inactivity.”
If you’re physically fit and engage in high-intensity or interval trainings, you only need 75 minutes per week, notes the ADA.
It’s also important to incorporate resistance training two to three days a week, with at least one day in between workouts. You should also avoid prolonged sitting by getting up and moving or stretching for a couple of minutes every half-hour.
People with type 2 diabetes who incorporated both aerobic and strength-training exercises into their routine experienced improved blood sugar control after just 12 weeks, according to a study published in February 2015 in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Participants also reported increased energy levels and improved self-esteem.
RELATED: How Strength Training Can Benefit People With Diabetes
How to Stick With Your Exercise Plan
Knowing the many benefits of exercise doesn’t always make it easy to keep up with your workout plan. If you’re having trouble staying motivated, try these seven tips to maintain your momentum and make exercise a permanent part of your diabetes management routine:
1. Take Baby Steps When Beginning an Exercise Routine
If you’re a couch potato who suddenly runs 5 miles on your first day of exercise, you’ll be sore on day two — perhaps with blisters on your feet and ready to throw in the towel.
Instead, if you’re not used to being active, the ADA recommends starting slowly by walking 10 minutes each day at a comfortable pace.
As your fitness levels improve, aim to add three to five minutes to your walking routine each week, until you reach a goal of 30 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week.
2. Choose a Physical Activity You Enjoy Doing
You’re also more ly to stick with your exercise plan if it’s fun, invigorating, and suits your abilities.
For example, if you don’t enjoy walking on a treadmill, it will be hard to stay motivated to step on it — and stay on it — every day.
Yet, if you walking briskly outside, as long as you have the proper gear for the weather, you’re ly to make time for it every day, Weisenberger says. Trying new activities can also keep fitness fresh and exciting, Weisenberger notes.
3. Use the Buddy System to Increase Accountability
Live-stream an exercise class online, and do it with a friend.
Having someone to exercise with helps pass the time more quickly and takes your mind off the effort you need to exercise, says Rob Powell, PhD, CDCES, assistant professor within the Department of Exercise Science and the Director of the Diabetes Exercise Center at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and exercise physiologist at Dr. Corcoran’s Diabetes Training Camp. Pick a buddy who will hold you accountable and encourage you to show up for your exercise session.
4. Reward Yourself With Healthy Treats for Breaking a Sweat
Celebrate milestones, such as sticking to your plan for one week, one month, two months, and so on. Just don’t celebrate with food — use it as an opportunity to take your fitness goals to the next level. Treat yourself to an online shopping spree for new workout clothes, sign up for an online boutique fitness class (such as Peloton or obe), or the .
5. Formally Schedule Your Sweat Sessions
Block out the time in your daily planner, especially if you’re prone to letting the day get away from you. Seeing exercise on your daily to-do list reminds you that it’s a priority. If it helps, you can break your exercise routine up into smaller chunks throughout your day. Maybe 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes on your lunch break, and 10 minutes after dinner.
6. Prep for Your Workouts a Day in Advance
Lay out your clothes for your morning workout before you go to bed at night — or even sleep in them. You can also pack your gym bag so you can just grab and go when you leave in the morning. “If your gym clothes are stuck in the back of your closet, you’re less ly to reach for them,” Dr. Powell says.
7. Check Your Blood Sugar Before and After Exercise
This shows you how much exercise helps to improve blood sugar control.
“When you see how your body reacts to different types of exercises and the length and intensity of your workout, it can motivate you to stick with what works,” Weisenberger says.
Also, be sure to keep glucose tablets or juice boxes in your gym bag or locker so that you can address an episode of low blood sugar, should it happen while exercising — and stop if you feel shaky or anxious.
RELATED: How to Spot the Signs of High and Low Blood Sugar
One Last Thing on Starting an Exercise Routine for Managing Diabetes
Getting into a regular exercise routine takes patience and determination, but don’t give up. When you start to see results of exercising regularly, you won’t want to stop — and that's the greatest motivation of all.
From our collaborators at Johns Hopkins Medicine International | How exercise helps you de-stress
Posted August 4, 2017By Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., Professor of Medicine and Director of Clinical and Research Exercise Physiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The physical and emotional demands of life often lead to high levels of stress.
A stressful situation at work, a divorce or separation, a death in the family or a diagnosis of a serious health problem may lead us to fall into poor eating habits or give up on exercise, making it even more difficult to cope with the challenges of life.
During challenging times, some of us might even start or resume destructive habits smoking, drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs. Yet, such physical or emotional problems are the very situations where maintaining healthy habits, especially exercise, can be the perfect prescription for what ails you, particularly for high levels of stress.
Conclusive research shows that 150 minutes of exercise per week — about a half hour five days per week — reduces stress by lowering blood pressure, relieving muscle tension and improving mood and concentration. Someone who is physically active has more vigor and is better able to tolerate fatigue, another factor that contributes to stress.
Consider fitness a first line of medication
Despite these proven rewards, many health care providers fail to recommend exercise as a first-line treatment for stress. Too often, stressed patients are offered medications instead. Yet, in many cases, increasing one’s level of physical activity can be one of the best treatment strategies for busting stress and improving stress-related high blood pressure or a racing heart rate.
For most otherwise healthy adults with mild high blood pressure, the guidelines from leading health organizations recommend a trial of several months of exercise and diet before starting to take blood pressure medications.
When a patient with cancer is suffering from the fatigue that most people experience when undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, many doctors still offer the misguided advice of resting as much as possible, even though maintaining an active lifestyle has been shown to be the best medicine for fighting physical fatigue and emotional stress in cancer survivors.
Many studies have shown that exercise, both in healthy people and in those with health problems, improves mild depression, anxiety and other psychological challenges.
Besides helping the body remain as physically fit as possible, exercise relieves nervous and muscle tension, and helps you to feel better about yourself.
This could be due to an increase in endorphins, a chemical produced in the brain with higher levels of activity that reduce pain and induce euphoria, or it could be due to taking your mind off your worries.
Fatigue from fitness can be beneficial for sense of self
Although exercising during difficult times might itself cause some fatigue, the fatigue from exercise, un the tiredness that results from feeling stressed, worried or being ill, also instills a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction from completing a workout.
In some of our work at Johns Hopkins, we have measured this sense of accomplishment in patients with serious heart problems.
After becoming more physically active, these individuals reported feeling greater confidence in their ability to be active, which in turn led to further increases in their activity levels and reaping the health benefits that naturally flow from exercising more. Increased confidence in your ability to perform at higher levels of physical activity is also a great stress buster.
Not only does exercise help people better manage and treat their health problems, it also helps them feel more in charge of their health because they are now being proactive rather than just living from one doctor visit to another, or going to the drugstore every month to stock up on pills. Taking an active role in your own health care is an excellent way to reduce anxiety, a major contributor to stress.
People who exercise regularly also tend to stop or decrease their smoking and eat better, both actions that further improve their ability to cope with life’s inevitable challenges, including stress.
Exercising in groups is motivating, offers new sources of support
The benefits of exercise for stress reduction can be further enhanced when exercising with someone else or in a group.
Working out with a buddy or in a group helps to maintain a consistent schedule, exposes you to a social and fun environment, and eliminates the boredom that sometimes occurs when exercising alone.
Being part of a social network that provides friendship and support is a great way to improve mood and reduce stress.
So regardless of the physical and emotional challenges that life may throw your way, staying as physically active as possible will get you through tough periods of stress, leading to a healthier and happier life.
Content courtesy of Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The content was reproduced with permission of the Office of Marketing and Communications for Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Additional reuse and reprinting is not allowed.
The information aims to educate readers and is not a substitute for consultation with a physician.
Exercise Motivation Your Heart Will Love
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Are there days when you have trouble getting motivated to exercise even though you know it’s smart for your heart? You’re not alone.
Especially during the first three or four months of a new exercise program, it can be mentally tough to keep moving, says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D.
, professor of medicine in the cardiology division at Johns Hopkins and director of Clinical and Research Physiology.
That’s because you’re still shaping the exercise habit. It gets easier to stick with it, Stewart says, as you begin to see results that benefit your heart: losing weight and inches around your waist, breathing easier, feeling stronger. As your confidence grows, so will your motivation and interest to keep moving—simply because it feels good.
What else helps?
Remind yourself of your big “why.”
Everyone has a different reason for wanting to exercise, beyond the general goals of “lose weight” or “lower my blood pressure.” It may be something you want to be able to do—participate in activities with kids or be around to see a grandchild grow up, for example.
Others may be motivated by fear—such as a fear of heart attack, or a desire to avoid winding up in a wheelchair after a stroke or a serious fall, Stewart says.
Envision your specific long-term reason for exercising and what it can do for you, then write it down on a sticky note or index card and post it on your bathroom mirror, atop your gym shoes or somewhere else where you can readily see it. Create a daily reminder for your mobile phone or computer as well.
Track your progress
For some people, motivation lies in knowing that exercise improves key heart-health numbers. Try tracking and recording your blood pressure, weight or waist circumference to inspire you to keep moving.
Make it competitive
If you’re motivated by a challenge, consider setting goals that you can use to compete against yourself or another person, Stewart advises. For example, a great self-challenge is to get a fitness-tracker device and work up to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Newer fitness trackers offer participation in an online group where you can compete with others.
Take up a sport you enjoy
For some people, motivation to exercise is higher when sports are involved, as opposed to just working out solo. Look for an intramural or recreation league (for example, basketball, soccer, softball or tennis) in your community by asking at such places as sports clubs or the YMCA/YWCA.
Unlock your blocks
If it’s really hard to get motivated to exercise, something about the setup may be getting in your way.
For example, perhaps you need to exercise at a different time of day and would have a better track record if you were to start getting into your gym clothes and working out first thing in the morning before any distractions hit.
Or, if it’s difficult to get to the gym to use weight machines, purchase some hand weights or resistance bands for your home or pick an activity that doesn’t require special equipment.
Knowing you should exercise more can feel daunting, especially when you’rejust starting out. Some people don’t feel they can fit in the full amountof physical activity their doctor recommends—and they give up on movingaltogether.
“But those recommendations are just guidelines,” says JohnsHopkins expert Kerry Stewart, Ed.D. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.Try to focus on being less sedentary rather than more active.
For example,you do not have to reach the goal of 10,000 steps per day in a week, butthis should be the goal to reach over two to three months.”
Research shows that sitting still for long periods of time can cancel outthe effects of 30 minutes of exercise.
“There’s good evidence that beingtoo sedentary, such as prolonged time in front of a TV, is perhaps asharmful to your heart health as not formally exercising at all,” Stewartsays.
Prolonged inactivity is linked to obesity and diabetes, even inpeople who are active for part of the day.
Yes, daily exercise is important, but so is regularly getting up and justmoving around throughout the day, Stewart says.
Johns Hopkins Tackles a Tragic Trend
See more in:
Deadly mass shootings have risen dramatically during the past decade to become an all-too-often horrifying and heartbreaking trend, and these heartbreaking catastrophes can happen anywhere.
In 2012, Gabor Kelen, M.D., and Christina Catlett, M.D., both with CEPAR, authored a paper on hospital-based shootings in the U.S. They concluded that hospital-based shootings are relatively rare compared with other forms of workplace violence.
However, they also noted that the unpredictable nature of these events can be challenging for hospital security and in developing effective deterrence practices because of the determination of most shooters and because many of these incidents occur outside hospital buildings.
Johns Hopkins has taken a number of steps to improve the safety of our patients, guests, faculty and staff. For example, both The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital regularly participate in active shooter exercises with the Baltimore Police Department.
The Johns Hopkins Corporate Security teams at the respective campuses work with police to develop the exercises, which take place directly on campus.
The latest exercise on the hospital campus took place in June 2016 with a simulated active shooter going on a spree in Turner Auditorium and Concourse.
The purpose of exercises such as these is to help familiarize police with our campuses and to continue to build relationships with the teams, says George Economas, interim vice president for corporate security for The Johns Hopkins University and Health System. Economas also says Johns Hopkins corporate security officers are the eyes and ears of the Baltimore Police Department. “Our security officers know how to get to areas of the hospital Blalock 7 in 10 different ways, where police don’t,” he says.
Run, Hide, Fight
Corporate security has also led live active shooter/assailant training sessions for staff at the university and hospital.
At The Johns Hopkins Hospital alone, corporate security officers have done nearly 50 in-person presentations for different departments.
The main focus of the training is to teach staff “Run, Hide, Fight,” which has become the national protocol on what to do when a suspect arrives at a location with the purpose of doing harm or killing.
Here are the steps:
RUN: If you can safely get away from the assailant, leave your belongings behind and run. Warn others nearby if you are able. Call 911 once you are safe.
HIDE: If you can’t run away safely, find a place to hide, preferably not in a group. Stay the assailant’s view and remain quiet. Lock and block doors, close blinds, turn off the lights, and silence your cell phone and other devices. Stay in place until police tell you it is safe to leave.
FIGHT: Defending yourself should be the last resort when you are in immediate danger. Try to find an item in the room you can use to distract or disarm the shooter, whether it is a fire extinguisher, chairs or other heavy items. Ambushing the shooter with a group of people could be helpful as well.
The active shooter/assailant course is a required online training course for Johns Hopkins Health System faculty and staff. For The Johns Hopkins University, the course has some slight variations specific to the university campus. The course is optional for faculty and staff at the university (beyond the school of medicine, for whom it is required), though it is encouraged.
“We want to ensure all of our faculty and staff know what to do if they are faced with this type of event,” Economas says. “These online courses will teach you the basic skills you need to reach the best possible outcome.”
To take the online active shooter/assailant course, visit theMyLearning section of my.jh.eduand search for “Preparing for an Active Shooter” (university version) or “Preparing for an Active Shooter in the Clinical and Non-clinical Environment” (health system version).
For women who have heart disease, exercise is critical
You’ve probably heard the statistics:
- Heart disease claims the life of one in every five women.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women.
- Heart disease claims the lives of more women every year than every form of cancerâ€¦combined.
Facts these are frightening, and heart disease isn’t something to be taken lightly. But remember: while you can’t reverse heart disease, you can make changes to live well with heart disease. This includes eating well; managing your ‘numbers’ blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides; not smoking; limiting alcohol intake; managing stress; and—importantly—staying active.
Consistently maintaining an active lifestyle can be difficult. During busy days or weeks, it can be hard to fit in any exercise at all. But it’s especially important to fit in regular exercise when you’re actively managing heart disease or heart health.
Unfortunately, many women are falling short of getting adequate exercise. Johns Hopkins Medicine recently conducted a nationwide survey to determine how sociodemographic factors age, race and ethnicity affected physical activity levels among women with heart disease. Of the nearly 19,000 women surveyed, more than half did not get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Among this group, women ages 40–64 with heart disease were the fastest-growing age group who were not getting enough exercise. Women of color—in particular, African-American and Hispanic women—were more ly to not exercise enough.
“This is a common issue for many women, not just women with heart disease.
When you have a to-do list that includes a busy career, social commitments and caring for a partner, child or parent, exercise almost always get put on the back burner,” explains Riti Patel, MD, FACC, a Lankenau Heart Institute cardiologist at Main Line Health. “But if you are a woman who has heart disease, consistently putting off exercise can have serious consequences.”
These consequences can be physical, cardiac disability or early cardiac death. But they can be financial, too—Johns Hopkins found that women who had heart disease spent an average of $4,000 more on medical care than women who did not have heart disease.
“Exercise is an investment in our health and it’s something everyone should make time for during the week, but it can be helpful to think of it as cost-saving measure, too. That can be the extra motivation that some people need to recognize its long-term impact,” says Dr. Patel.
Making time for fitness
We already know that making time for exercise isn’t easy. But if you’re a woman with heart disease who is looking to fit some physical activity into your daily routine, where do you start?
In a word? Says Dr. Patel: “Anywhere!”
A walking routine can be a great start to your exercise routine and is generally safe for people who have heart disease. Start with 10-minute walks two to three times per day. The benefit of a walking routine is that you can fit a walk in wherever you are and at a time that’s convenient for you.
If you don’t live in walkable area or walking isn’t your fitness routine of choice, there are other options. You can try outdoor or stationary biking or talk to your doctor about a light strength training routine. If you belong to a community pool, start with swimming or water aerobics. Whatever routine you decide to try, make sure it’s one you enjoy and that you’re willing to stick to.
Before you begin any type of new exercise, talk to your cardiologist.
“There are many ways to exercise safely if you have heart disease, but there are some precautions you should take, not exercising in very hot or very cold weather. Depending on your personal health status or history, there may be additional precautions, as well,” says Dr. Patel.
And while it’s good to start slowly with a new routine, remember to aim for 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity five times a week will help you meet your goalâ€¦and improve your health.
“I know how difficult it can be to fit exercise into a busy day but, as health complications and deaths continue to rise, it’s important for women to make time for themselves and their health,” says Dr. Patel.