4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life

These four steps help people with diabetes understand, monitor, and manage their diabetes to help them stay healthy. This publication is excellent for people newly diagnosed with diabetes or who just want to learn more about controlling the disease.

Step 1: Learn about diabetes.

What is diabetes?

There are three main types of diabetes:
  • Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live.
  • Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
  • Gestational (jest-RAY-shun-al) diabetes – Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.

You are the most important member of your health care team.

You are the one who manages your diabetes day by day. Talk to your doctor about how you can best care for your diabetes to stay healthy. Some others who can help are:
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  • dentist
  • diabetes doctor
  • diabetes educator
  • dietitian
  • eye doctor
  • foot doctor
  • friends and family
  • mental health counselor
  • nurse
  • nurse practitioner
  • pharmacist
  • social worker

How to learn more about diabetes.

  • Take classes to learn more about living with diabetes. To find a class, check with your health care team, hospital, or area health clinic. You can also search online.
  • Join a support group — in-person or online — to get peer support with managing your diabetes.
  • Read about diabetes online. Go to .

Take diabetes seriously.

Image for NDEP-67: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for LifeYou may have heard people say they have “a touch of diabetes” or that their “sugar is a little high.” These words suggest that diabetes is not a serious disease. That is not correct. Diabetes is serious, but you can learn to manage it.
People with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, move more every day, and take their medicine even when they feel good. It’s a lot to do. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!

Why take care of your diabetes?

Taking care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel good today and in the future. When your blood sugar (glucose) is close to normal, you are likely to:
  • have more energy
  • be less tired and thirsty
  • need to pass urine less often
  • heal better
  • have fewer skin or bladder infections
You will also have less chance of having health problems caused by diabetes such as:
  • heart attack or stroke
  • eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind
  • pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet, also called nerve damage
  • kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to stop working
  • teeth and gum problems

check markActions you can take

  • check markAsk your health care team what type of diabetes you have.
  • check markLearn where you can go for support.
  • check markLearn how caring for your diabetes helps you feel good today and in the future.

Step 2: Know your diabetes ABC.

Image for NDEP-67: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life Talk to your health care team about how to manage your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.

A for the A1C test (A-one-C).

What is it?

The A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day.

Why is it important?

You need to know your blood sugar levels over time. You don’t want those numbers to get too high. High levels of blood sugar can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

What is the A1C goal?

The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.

B for Blood pressure.

What is it?Image for NDEP-67: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels.

Why is it important?

If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. It can cause a heart attack, stroke, and damage your kidneys and eyes.

What is the blood pressure goal?

The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.

C for Cholesterol (KO-LESS-hut-ruhl).

What is it?

There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LIL and HDTV.
LIL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. It can cause a heart attack or stroke.
HDTV or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels.

What are the LIL and HDTV goals?

Ask what your cholesterol numbers should be. Your goals may be different from other people. If you are over 40 years of age, you may need to take a stain drug for heart health.

check markActions you can take

  • check markAsk your health care team:
    • what your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers are and what they should be. Your ABC goals will depend on how long you have had diabetes, other health problems, and how hard your diabetes is to manage.
    • what you can do to reach your ABC goals
  • check markWrite down your numbers on the record at the back of this booklet to track your progress.

Step 3: Learn how to live with diabetes.

Image for NDEP-67: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for LifeIt is common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time. This section has tips on how to cope with your diabetes, eat well, and be active.

Cope with your diabetes.

  • Stress can raise your blood sugar. Learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on your hobby, or listening to your favorite music.
  • Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.

Eat well.

  • Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team.
  • Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Eat foods with more fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
  • Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
  • Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
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  • When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken or turkey without the skin, and one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

Be active.

  • Image for NDEP-67: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for LifeSet a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day.
  • Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups.
  • Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.

Know what to do every day.

  • Take your medicines for diabetes and any other health problems even when you feel good. Ask your doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicines or if you have any side effects.
  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. Call your health care team right away about any sores that do not go away.
  • Brush your teeth and floss every day to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy.
  • Stop smoking. Ask for help to quit. Call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).
  • Keep track of your blood sugar. You may want to check it one or more times a day. Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your blood sugar numbers. Be sure to talk about it with your health care team.
  • Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises and keep a record of it.

Talk to your health care team.

  • Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your diabetes.
  • Report any changes in your health.

check markActions you can take

  • check mark Ask for a healthy meal plan.
  • check mark Ask about ways to be more active.
  • check mark Ask how and when to test your blood sugar and how to use the results to manage your diabetes.
  • check mark Use these tips to help with your self-care.
  • check mark Discuss how your diabetes plan is working for you each time you visit your health care team.

Step 4: Get routine care to stay healthy.

See your health care team at least twice a year to find and treat any problems early.

At each visit, be sure you have a:

  • blood pressure check
  • foot check
  • weight check
  • review of your self-care plan

Two times each year, have an: It may be checked more often if it is over 


Once each year, be sure you have a:

  • cholesterol test
  • complete foot exam
  • dental exam to check teeth and gums
  • dilated eye exam to check for eye problems
  • flu shot
  • urine and a blood test to check for kidney problems

At least once in your lifetime, get a:

  • pneumonia (nu-mo-nay) shot
  • hepatitis B (HEP-uh-TY-sits) shot

Medicare and diabetes.

If you have Medicare, check to see how your plan covers diabetes care. Medicare covers some of the costs for:
  • diabetes education
  • diabetes supplies
  • diabetes medicine
  • visits with a dietitian
  • special shoes, if you need them

check markActions you can take

  • check mark Ask your health care team about these and other tests you may need. Ask what your results mean.
  • check mark Write down the date and time of your next visit.
  • check mark Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your diabetes care.
  • check mark If you have Medicare, check your plan.

Are You Getting Results from Your Workouts?


 In a asked readers to vote on their most frequent reason for skipping workouts. The results? 31% of voters said they skipped workouts because they weren't seeing results. So, what's the deal? Are most of us really not seeing results or could it be something else?
Lack of results could be caused by any number of factors: your diet, your exercise program or unrealistic goals. The key is to figure out if you lack results because you need to change what you're doing or change how you're thinking.

What Are Your Goals?

The first thing to do is ask yourself: what is my goal? If your goal is to lose weight and you haven't set a specific weight loss goal (e.g., four pounds in four weeks), that may be one reason it seems like you're not seeing results. If you don't know how much weight you want to lose, how do you know whether the results you're seeing are reasonable or not?
Many people go into weight loss with a vague goal of losing a certain amount of weight (e.g., 20 or 30 pounds) but without a specific plan of how they'll lose the weight or even how much weight they'll lose on a weekly basis. If you don't have a specific goal, a reasonable time frame and a plan to reach that goal you'll never know whether you're actually making progress or not.
If this sounds familiar, use the following resources to help you set the right goals:
And, remember, weight loss isn't the only goal there is! In fact, you may be seeing and even feeling great results but, because you're only looking at the scale, they might be passing you right by.

Affordable online trainers to help you lose weight quickly and safely
Simple exercise tips that work even if you have little time to
Next, check out other obstacles that stand in the way of weight loss success and learn what you can do to see better results.

I'm Not Losing Weight Fast Enough

One of the most obvious ways we determine exercise success is by tracking our weight. If we see the scale go down, we feel we're on the right track. If the scale doesn't move or, worse, goes up, we feel like failures. But a scale doesn't always tell you everything you need to know and, similarly, safe weight loss will almost always be slower than you think it should be.
But, one thing to look at if you feel your weight loss is too slow is your calories in vs. calories out. At it's most basic, weight loss is a numbers game...eat less and burn more, you'll lose weight, right? Obviously, there are other factors involved, but, for the most part, controlling your eating and activity should lead to some kind of weight loss. So, with that in mind, what do your numbers look like? And is your weight loss too slow or is it right on track?

Why Weight Loss is Hard

Experts recommend we try to lose about .5 to 2 lbs each week, which sounds pretty reasonable. This means that you need to burn an EXTRA 1750 - 7000 calories each week (with either diet, exercise or both) in order to lose that weight. But, let's look a bit closer at this weight loss thing and see why it's not as easy as it looks. The following steps describe what you need to do to see steady weight loss:
  1. Plan exactly how much weight you want to lose. You can use the steps in but, for our purposes here, let's assume you want to lose four pounds in four weeks.
  2. Plan exactly how you'll meet that goal. To lose a pound a week, you would have to burn an extra 500 calories a day, every day through diet or exercise or both. If you want to burn half with exercise and half from your diet, that means determining the activity you'd need to do to burn about 250 calories as well as how you can cut 250 calories from your diet.
  3. Never stray from your plan. If you really want to lose four pounds in four weeks, you need to follow your plan every single day. If you schedule a rest day and don't burn any calories with exercise, you need to offset that by cutting more calories from your diet. Similarly, if you have a cheat day and eat more calories, you would need to exercise enough to offset all those extra calories. This is why weight loss is a lot harder than you think it is. If you really want to lose that weight you can either never stray from your diet and exercise plan or you must plan meticulously for those strays in order to offset the exercise you're missing or the extra calories you're eating. And you have to do this every single day.

Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit


It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.
  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort - After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual - Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief - What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness - Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness - If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small - Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

Top Ten Exercise Tips

  1. See your doctor before you start any exercise program.  Get a full physical to make sure everything's in then find a personal trainer in your neighborhood and make an appointment with him or her for a consultation.  Most trainers will give you a free consultation and help you figure out what your fitness level is, your body fat and circumference measurements, and the right way to start a program.

  2. Start Slow!  Many beginners make the mistake of doing too much when they first start out.  If you haven't in a while (or ever) start with a walking program of about 20 to 30 minutes, 3 days a week. Each session, add a few minutes to your workout to progress each week.

  3. Write down your workouts every day, making notes about what you did, how you felt and how you improved since your last workout.

  4. Schedule your workouts each week, just like you would a appointment.

  5. Harass your best friend, spouse or significant other into with you!

  6. Every day, ask yourself how you will make your life healthier.  It can be as simple as drinking more water or parking farther away from the front door.

  7. Reward yourself!  Give yourself a massage when you reach your goals, or maybe some new workout clothes.

  8. Set daily or weekly goals.  Long term goals are great, but are so far away we often forget why we're so hard.  To stay motivated, write down a daily or weekly goal and then follow number 7 (rewarding yourself) if you reach it.

  9. Prepare for your workout the night before by packing your gym bag or, if you at home, laying out your workout clothes so when you get home, you're ready to go.

  10. Eat regularly throughout the day so you don't bonk during your workout.

4 Easy Ways to Start Exercising

Easy Ways to Start ExercisingExercise doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits. Adding just a little physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health. Whatever your age or fitness level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life before—you can find simple, fun ways to add more movement into your life and start to feel better, look better, and enjoy life more.

How much exercise do you need

Exercising moderately for 30 minutes, five times a week is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Can’t find 30 minutes in your? That’s okay, two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.
If that still seems like a daunting amount of time to spend exercising, don’t despair. Even just a little physical activity is better than none at all. Try starting by taking a short walk on most days, and gradually build up the length of your sessions from there. It takes about 4 weeks for an activity to become a habit so commit to maintaining your schedule for at least that long. As exercising becomes habit, you can slowly add extra minutes or try different types of activities. If you keep at it, the benefits you experience will begin to mount.


How hard do I need to exercise?

Forget “no pain, no gain,” you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic or gym rat to reap the rewards of exercise. Research has shown that mild to moderate activity is enough to change your life for the better. Moderate activity means:
  1. That you breathe a little heavier than normal, but are not out of breath. For example, you should be able to chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song.
  2. That your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.


Do I need different types of exercise?

While any kind of exercise offers tremendous health benefits, different types of exercise focus more on certain aspects of your health. Mixing up the different types of exercise can add variety to your workouts and broaden the health benefits.
  • Aerobic activities like running, cycling, and swimming strengthen your heart and increase your endurance.
  • Strength training like weight lifting or resistance training builds muscle and bone mass, improves balance and prevents falls. It’s one of the best counters to frailty in old age.
  • Flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga help prevent injury, enhance range of motion, reduce stiffness, and limit aches and pains.


Exercise is as Good for Your Mind as it is Your Body

Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. It can help you to control your appetite, lose weight, shed inches, and lower your risk for a variety of serious diseases. But the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise is as effective as antidepressant medication at relieving depression and boosting your mood. It can also help you to relieve stress and anxiety, improve your self-esteem, sleep better, and cope with life’s challenges in a healthy, way.


Easy ways to start exercising tip 1: Move more in your daily life


If you're not ready to commit to a structured exercise think about physical activity as a lifestyle choice rather than a single task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here and there. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.
  • In and around your home. Clean the house, wash the car, tend to the yard and garden, mow the lawn with a push mower, sweep the sidewalk or patio with a broom.
  • At and on the go. Look for ways to walk or cycle more. For example, bike or walk to an appointment rather than drive, banish all elevators and use the stairs, briskly walk to the bus stop then get off one stop early, park at the back of the lot and walk into the store or office, take a vigorous walk during your coffee break. Walk while you’re talking on your cell phone.
  • With friends or family. Walk or jog around the soccer field during your kid’s practice, make a neighborhood bike ride part of weekend routine, play tag with your children in the yard or play exercise video games. Walk the dog together as a family, or if you don’t have your own dog, volunteer to walk a dog from a shelter. Organize an office bowling team, take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga with a friend or spouse.


Easy exercises for couch potatoes

"Couchersizing" during TV time builds quads, calves, and grip strength, and protects mobility.
Try "couchersizing," staying on or near your couch and exercising during commercial breaks.
Sit to stand
Go from sitting to standing to sitting again, 10 times in a row. Rest for a minute, then repeat.
Works the quadriceps in the front of the thigh and gluteal muscles in the buttocks, which helps protect your ability to get up from a chair, out of a car, or off a bathroom seat.
Calf stretch
Sit on the edge of a couch with your feet flat on the floor. With one leg, keeping your heel on the floor, lift and point the toes toward the ceiling, so that you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg, three times per leg.
Keeping your calves optimally flexible can keep your walking stride longer, reduce your risk of tripping over your toes, and reduce your risk for common foot injuries.
Stand on one leg
Holding on to the back of a chair for stability, lift one heel toward your buttocks. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, three times per leg. To improve your balance on unsteady surfaces, try this with shoes off on a balled-up beach towel.
Balance gets better if you practice it, which can decrease the risk of falling.
Shoulder blade squeeze
Pinch your shoulder blades together, but not up (don't shrug). Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 10 times.
Helps prevent a rounded, shoulders-forward posture that can develop from many years of sitting, especially at a computer.
Hand squeeze
While seated upright, hold a ball (the size of a basketball) over your lap with both hands, then squeeze the ball as if you're trying to deflate it. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times, rest, then do another set of 10 repetitions. You can also improve your grip strength by squeezing a small rubber ball in one hand.
Keeping your grip strong makes it possible to turn a door knob, open a jar, and grasp a gallon of milk.
Adapted with permission from a newsletter published by Harvard Health Publications.


Easy ways to start exercising tip 2: Start slowly—a little is better than nothing


Exercise doesn’t need to be an all or nothing commitment. If you haven’t exercised before or you’ve tried an exercise program in the past and been unable to stick with it, it’s important not to set unrealistic goals. Committing to exercise for an hour a day in a gym may be too challenging at first, whereas committing to 10 minutes just three or four times a week is more manageable. Once these short windows of activity become a habit and you start experiencing the benefits, it’s easier to progress to the next level.


Tips for getting started in an exercise program

  • Focus on activities you enjoy. If you hate jogging, you won’t be able to maintain a jogging program no matter how good it is for you. On the other hand, if you love to swim, dance, or play tennis you’ll find it easier to sick with an exercise program that’s built around those activities.
  • Take it slow. Start with an activity you feel comfortable doing, go at your own pace, and keep your expectations realistic. For example, training for a marathon when you’ve never run before may be a bit daunting, but you could give yourself the goal of participating in an upcoming 5k walk for charity.
  • Focus on short-term goals, such as improving your mood and energy levels and reducing stress, rather than goals such as weight loss or increased muscle size, as these can take longer to achieve.
  • Make exercise a priority. If you have trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, consider it an important appointment with yourself and mark it on your daily agenda. Commit to an exercise schedule for at least 3 or 4 weeks so that it becomes habit, and force yourself to stick with it. Even the busiest amongst us can find a 10-minute slot to pace up and down an office staircase or take the dog for a walk.
  • Go easy on yourself. Do you feel bad about your body? Instead of being your own worst critic, try a new way of thinking about your body. No matter what your weight, age, or fitness level, there are others like you with the same goal of exercising more. Try surrounding yourself with people in your shoes. Take a class with others of a similar fitness level. Accomplishing even the smallest fitness goals will help you gain body confidence.
  • Expect ups and downs. Don’t be discouraged if you skip a few days or even a few weeks. It happens. Just get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum.


Safety tips for beginning exercisers

If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve attempted any strenuous physical activity, keep in mind the following general health precautions:
  • Get medical clearance. If you have special health issues such as an existing heart condition or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor or health practitioner and let him or her know your plans.
  • Stretch. No matter what form of exercise you choose, you’ll benefit from adding stretching exercises to gain flexibility and range of motion. Stretching gently to warm up and cool down is the best form of injury-prevention for new exercisers.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.


Easy ways to start exercising tip 3: Make exercise fun


You are more likely to exercise if you find enjoyable, convenient activities. Give some thought to your likes and dislikes, and remember that preferences can change over time.

Pair an activity you enjoy with your exercise

Pair an activity you enjoy with your exerciseThere are numerous activities that qualify as exercise. The trick is to find something you enjoy that forces you to be active. Pairing exercise with another activity makes it easier and more fun. Simple examples include:
  • Take a dance or class.
  • Blast some favorite music and dance with your kids.
  • Make a deal with yourself to watch your favorite TV shows while on the treadmill or stationary bike.
  • Workout with a buddy, and afterwards enjoy coffee or a movie.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities such as golf, playing Frisbee, or even yard work or gardening.


Make exercise a social activity

Exercise can be a fun time to socialize with friends and working out with others can help keep you motivated. For those who enjoy company but dislike competition, a running club, water aerobics, or dance class may be the perfect thing. Others may find that a little healthy competition keeps the workout fun and exciting. You might seek out tennis partners, join an adult soccer league, find a regular pickup basketball game, or join a volleyball team.
For many, a workout partner can be a great motivator. For example, if you won’t get out of bed to swim yourself, but you would never cancel on a friend, find a swim buddy.


Easy ways to start exercising tip 4: Stay motivated


No matter how much you enjoy an exercise routine, you may find that you eventually lose interest in it. That’s the time to shake things up and try something new, add other activities to your exercise program, or alter the way you pursue the exercises that have worked so far.


Set yourself goals and rewards

Rewarding yourself for reaching an exercise goal is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Set an achievable goal regarding your participation and effort, not necessarily how much weight you can lift, miles you can bike, or pounds you can lose lost. If you stumble in your efforts, regroup and begin again. Reward yourself when you reach your goals—a new pair of shoes, a dinner out, whatever works to motivate you.


Other ways to keep your exercise program going

  • Be consistent. Make your workouts habitual by exercising at the same time every day, if possible. Eventually you will get to the point where you feel worse if you don’t exercise. That dull, sluggish feeling fitness buffs get when they don’t work out is a strong incentive to get up and go.
  • Record your progress. Try keeping an exercise journal of your workouts. In a matter of months, it will be fun to look back at where you began. Keeping a log also holds you accountable to your routine.
  • Keep it interesting. Think of your exercise session as time dedicated to you. Enjoy that time by listening to music, chatting with friends, and varying locations. Exercise around natural beauty, new neighborhoods, and special parks.
  • Spread the word. Talking to others about your fitness routines will help keep motivation strong and hold you accountable to your exercise program. You’ll be delighted and inspired hearing ways your friends and colleagues stay active and on track.
  • Get inspired. Read a health and fitness magazine or visit an exercise website and get inspired with photos of people being active. Sometimes reading about and looking at images of people who are healthy and fit can motivate you to move your body.