Getting exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy, especially when you are dealing with a chronic disease. It helps not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. Here are some tips on preparing yourself to take the first leap.
1. Start with small goals
You don’t have to wake up and run a marathon. You don’t even have to go running. If it’s what your fitness requires: start by walking. Use a pedometer like Fitbit, Withings Plus or Garmin Vivofit to track your steps. It is generally recommended that you walk 10,000 steps a day to start getting fitter. If you can do that: great. If not: start with as much as you can and gradually increase the distance. Whichever the case, don’t forget that you need to try to extend your comfort zone. When you start getting tired: go a little more!
2. Measure your glucose level
Before you do any exercise, you MUST measure your glucose level. If your blood glucose level is fine, then you start your exercise. Initially try to measure your glucose level often even during exercise, so you get a feel of how your body reacts to it (a CGM is recommended). Log your measurements in an app like laborom so you can see trends in how exercise effects you levels. Also: ALWAYS bring glucagon or any fast acting carbohydrates in case you get a low during your workout.
3. Measure your weight
Your weight is a good benchmark of how well your exercise is effecting your health. Don’t worry if you don’t lose a lot of weight all of a sudden. First your body needs to build muscles to get used to the exercise, and muscle tissue is heavier than fat tissue. You can also track your weight change in laborom and you might want to think about uploading pictures of yourself to the app for each measurement so you can see how your physique is changing over time. Often, even though your weight doesn’t decrease much your shape can improve tremendously.
4. Avoid fast-food
Fast-foods are usually pumped with artificial ingredients which can really mess with your blood sugar levels. Try to eat healthy foods like salads and generally low-carb meals. Whenever you exercise bring your own food so you know perfectly well how your body will react to it.
5. Time, consistency, habit
Probably the first time you go out for a walk or a jog it will be when some time frees up in your calendar and you have nothing better to do. When you finished your exercise and took a nice shower sit down and try to think how you could fit this into your busy schedule at least 3 times a week. Make a game plan and stick to it! Try to form a habit of doing this.
6. Bring a friend
For security, or for company get a friend to join you. Exercising together with someone is always more fun and interesting. They can also help you out if you should need anything. This is especially a good idea while you and your body are still getting used to the workout.
7. Reward yourself
After each exercise treat yourself to something that you would otherwise not do or get for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it doesn’t even have to cost money. You just have to feel better for doing it. This will help with making a workout into a habit.
Do you have your own tips that helped you get started? Is there a pro-tip you can share with the community? Let us know in the comments!