Here are my top four strategies for actually prioritizing exercise:
1. Find Your Optimal Workout Time
Mine is 6:15 AM. I like early morning workouts because:
- The rest of my life generally doesn’t get in the way.
- If something does interfere, I can often manage to squeeze something in later in the day (e.g. multiple short walks, evening run, etc.).
- I can dial back on insulin for 2-3 hrs post-exercise. (That, in itself, is hugely motivating!)
2. Leverage Technology
Here’s what I’m using right now:
- Garmin Vivofit / Connect App – a gift from my family two Christmases ago.
- 5kRunner App – this $2.99 investment helped me get in shape for my first 5k.
- Audible.com – I listen to books while I run. Actually, I don’t let myself listen to books unless I’m out for a run. I found a Groupon for a 3-month trial. I liked it so much, I continued the membership. (Did you know you can share a subscription with up to 3 other people? How great is that?)
- Podcasts – I also listen to podcasts while I run. Current favorites include: The Moth, This American Life, New Yorker Fiction.
3. Invite Friends and Family.
I started with just one thing on this list. Once the habit was formed, I added something else, and so on. Here’s what I did:
- Challenged my husband, who recently got a pedometer, to a 10,000-steps competition. (I know the 10,000 steps are arbitrary, but I still like having them as a milestone. In fact, those 10,000-steps are what inspired me to start running - because I didn’t have time to walk them all.)
- Recruited a few friends to walk and/or run with me. It’s good for us all, right? Plus, it’s a great way to keep up with friends!
- Invited a few other friends to go to Zumba with me. Just $5 a class at our local rec center. Great music, great company.
- Signed up for a neighborhood 5k. Did I mention that I
am was not a runner? (See what I did there? Now I am a runner.)
- Invited my 11-year old to run with me on the weekends. (We take turns playing favorite songs for each other. I love learning what she’s into!)
- Realized that my neighbor goes to the same gym I do. (Now we go to the gym together.)
4. Vary the Activities.
Here's what I'm doing now:
- Cardio and weight lifting (2x/week)
- Yoga (1x/week)
- Running (2x/week)
- Fast-walking (1x/week) or Hiking
How about you? How do you stay committed to exercise?
This post was written for Diabetes Blog Week.
The Prompt: Diabetes tips and diabetes tricks.
For more perspectives on this topic, click here.
I promised to share how LiveWell's Get Movin' Challenge is working for me.
It's been great so far! Since August 1, I have engaged in the following activities:
enjoyed volleyball & picnic in the park with other families
participated in Denver's super fun Viva Streets (you should totally do it next year!)
played tag at a park with my children
swam while my kids had swim lessons
bounced with my kids at an indoor trampoline park
worked out at the gym 3-4 times per week
hiked with my family
took my children to a roller rink and skated with them
Most days I exercised for more than 45 minutes. I found that even when I had met my daily exercise goal, I continued to seek additional opportunities to be active.
On the other hand, there were days - three of them - that I didn't squeeze in my 30 minutes. I made up for it by exercising twice as long the next day.
Since part of the goal I had set for myself was to try new forms of exercise, and I still haven't got to everything on my list, I'm taking the challenge into September.
Here's what's on deck:
- go on a bike date with my husband
- commit to one car-free (or walk-only or bike-only) day in September
- add one class to my fitness routine (cycle or power yoga)
- take my family on a hike
- learn to swim better - take a lesson!
(As an added benefit, I have lost one pound.)
I just signed up for LiveWell Colorado's Get Movin’ Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar with it, LiveWell Colorado is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing obesity in our state. The challenge invites Coloradans to commit to one month of physical activity – at least 30 minutes a day every day – during the month of August.
As it happens, my kids are enrolled this week in a sports-oriented camp.
A typical day looks like this:
8:15-9:00 - Open Recreation (Basketball, Soccer, Corn Hole, Twister, etc)
9:00-9:45 - Rules, Stretching, Name Games & Morning Snack
9:45-11:15 - Dance/Cheer OR Soccer
11:15 -12:15 - Lunch
12:15-1:00 - Lacrosse
1:00-2:00 - Ice Skating
2:00-3:00 - Climbing Wall
3:00-3:30 - Afternoon Snack
3:30-4:30 - Ultimate Frisbee
I would not have described either of my children as particularly sporty. And yet, they return home from camp each day raving about how much fun they had scaling the climbing wall and learning to play lacrosse.
That got me thinking – I should make my workout more fun. Here’s how I'm going to do that during the Get Movin’ Challenge:
- add two classes to my fitness routine (I picked spin and power yoga)
- take my family hiking twice over the next 5 weeks
- schedule an evening soccer or volleyball game in the park with other families
- commit to two car-free (walk- or bike-only days) in August
- go on a bike date with my husband
- take another Will Power and Grace class with my friend
- participate in Viva Streets in Denver on August 11th
- play tag at a park with my kids
- swim for 30 minutes during my children's swim lessons
I like this plan. August is going to be really fun.
Three mornings a week, I head to the gym, dial down my insulin, insert ear buds and spend 45 minutes ellipticizing. There's a lot of motivation: I want my clothes to fit, I'll enjoy the post-exercise calm, I want to model healthy habits for my daughters, etc. But really gets me out the door is knowing that I'll be able to dial back my insulin by about 15% for several hours following the workout.
This morning I broke from routine and attended a WillPower & Grace® class taught by my friend Jen. The class was part of the One Billion Rising movement, which is itself pretty fantastic.
I was apprehensive about trying to keep pace with the über-fit regular attendees. But the class was terrific. I worked hard, broke a sweat and stretched long-forgotten muscles.
And! Just before the class started, I saw a woman I recognized. Where did I know her from? Work? The neighborhood? Then I noticed her wrapping the plastic tubing around her insulin pump. And I remembered meeting her last summer at our kids' swim lessons.
We chatted briefly this morning after class, exchanged contact info and just appreciated the ease of connecting with someone who "gets it" without explanation.