Exercise: How to get Motivation to Move More

Published on: 03/30/2023
walking on the treadmill at the gym

Need some motivation to exercise?  

Getting my A1c down is my motivation to exercise, but that may not work for you. Each person has to find the reason that works for them.  

This week I am experimenting with 5 minute walks on my treadmill right after each meal to see if it helps my blood sugar. I’m on a mission to get my A1c down to 5.6 by the end of the year so I am using my continuous glucose monitor more intentionally lately.

What I notice is that the difference between sitting at my desk all day and moving around all day is very different. I can stay in range almost all day if I am working around the house and moving all day. But when I sit at my computer most of the day, my blood sugar spikes out of range after meals.  It definitely makes my blood sugar come down sooner than it would if I was sitting, but it’s not preventing it from going high. I think I need to experiment with trying the exercise BEFORE I eat. (I’ll let you know how that turns out)

It’s definitely challenging to stay active if we have desk jobs and/or a busy schedule. And winter weather makes it more challenging. My treadmill and yoga on YouTube are my winter exercises. Some days I even get out for a winter walk if the weather is sunny and warm enough. Shoveling, of course, has been a weekly activity this winter as well!

How do we find inspiration to get started?

We all know the options we have, including walking outside, using the gym or our own indoor equipment, taking a class or doing a home video. 

But what tools do we use to motivate us and keep us on track with regular exercise?

If you are struggling, here are some ideas to consider: 

  • Using a continuous glucose monitor is a great motivator if you have diabetes or prediabetes. Seeing the blood sugar in real time and making the connections right away allow you to experiment and do more of what’s working.
  • Avoiding medication or trying to reduce medication can also be a good motivator. Exercise often lowers A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. But then we have to change the way we think about being active. It’s not a choice if we want to get healthier. Think of it as your daily medicine and that might help you be less tempted to skip it. 
  • Exercise with a friend or family member that will keep you accountable. Set up scheduled days in advance that you will walk or go to the gym together.
  • Try something new and take a strength training or water aerobics class with a friend. For many, exercise groups can be a great social activity to look forward to also. This article has some great information on the benefits of strength training for us over 50 folks!  
  • If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, sign up for a 5K so you have something to train for.
  • Hire a coach or personal trainer to show you how to use equipment at the gym or what exercises would be best for your goals and fitness level.
  • Don’t think you have to do a full 30 minute or hour workout. If you’re not that into exercise, just doing a 5-10 minute walk has been shown to be great for simply keeping your mind sharp! If you need a free indoor walking workout, here’s a 10-minute YouTube video. 

If you are like me there are alot of days I feel like I just don’t have the energy to exercise, but after I do it I feel so much better. I have more energy, my joints feel better, it’s easier to avoid weight gain, my blood sugars are better, I sleep better, and I am less likely to feel down or depressed. Plus, I tend to drink more water when I am exercising so that’s a bonus!

And remember these safety tips . . .

  • Carry a snack if you are prone to low blood sugar
  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Listen to your body and don’t overdo it. If you are in pain or having trouble breathing, stop.
  • Check with your doctor if you have any questions about if or what type of exercise you should do.

Please share in the comments how you get motivation to exercise!


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I’m Karen, a diabetes nutrition specialist who is passionate about fighting diabetes for my clients, my family, and myself.

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