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Hate exercising? Get dedicated with these three small steps

For most of us, exercise may be on the short list of 'things we hate to do.' We know its benefits and the contributions it makes to a healthy lifestyle, but finding the motivation and time to get up and moving can be challenging.

If you are one of the nearly 26 million people affected by diabetes, you have probably been on the receiving end of a talk by your physician and/or diabetes educator about how exercise plays a key role in helping you control your blood sugar and maintain a desirable weight. In fact, according to the Diabetes Prevention Program (a large study about people with pre-diabetes), exercising 30-minutes-a-day, five-times-a-week helped prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in program participants. The study also revealed that people who combined an exercise routine with changes in their eating habits, lost 10 to 20 pounds.

Dedication to exercise starts with three small steps

When you exercise, whether it be a walk around the block, vacuuming your living room, gardening or a five-mile run, your muscles use your body's sugar for energy. This, combined with the fact that physical activity also improves your body's response to insulin, is why exercise can help lower your blood sugar levels.

To get -- and stay -- motivated, take small steps toward building a daily exercise plan,

  1. Do not expect to change every bad habit at once: Old habits die hard, and exercise is no different.
  2. Be realistic: Maybe you can walk in-place during commercials when watching television or take the stairs at work rather than the elevator. Whatever your decision, remember that every little bit helps, and each effort can have a positive result.
  3. Understand setbacks may happen: Do not let this discourage you -- accept that you may not have followed your plan as you hoped, and make a fresh start.

Address your concerns about exercising with diabetes

It is true that your blood sugar level can drop too low while engaging in physical activity, so address your concerns. Before starting any exercise as part of your diabetes management program, talk to your doctor about it. Get his/her input whether the regimen you are considering seems reasonable for your fitness level.

Building exercise into your diabetes management plan is one of the best ways to lower your blood sugar and prevent complications. Grab an exercise partner and head to the gym, put the leash on the dog and go for a walk, or turn on the home DVD exercise program. Whatever you choose, get moving today.

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About Leah DiPlacido

Leah DiPlacido, Ph.D. is a biomedical writer/editor. She received her doctorate degree in Immunology at Yale University, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Connecticut. She has authored research articles in publications such as "Arthritis and Rheumatism" and "Journal of Immunology." Leah now writes about topics in health for doctors, scientists, and the general public.

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