Where to start?

Less than 25 % of adults in Québec meet the Canadian standards for physical activity (Statistics Canada, 2012-2013).

Too tired, not enough time, money or equipment, it’s too cold or too hot outside, it’s raining … There’s no shortage of excuses for not doing a physical activity!

Get moving!

Even though we know about the many health benefits of exercise, many of us are not active enough because we lack motivation.

Getting started is usually the hardest part of an exercise program.

To get you over the hump, try the following mental exercise:

1. Fill out the table below. The two centre columns will show you the reasons why you think you should be more active.

Challenges of being more active
Benefits of being more activeChallenges of staying inactiveBenefits of staying inactive

2. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • On a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (extremely), how important is it to you to be more active?
  • Still on a scale of 0 to 10, how confident are you in your ability to get more active?

Now, ask yourself what it would take to increase this number. For example, if you answered 6 for confidence, what would it take to get it up to 7?

3.  Ask yourself if you feel ready to get more active. If yes, making an action plan can help you get started.

Above all, you need to have FUN doing a physical activity. You will only develop the habit of doing it if you enjoy it.

When individuals with diabetes begin an exercise program, they must do so knowingly and seek professional help in determining the state of their health.

It is advisable to consult a kinesiologist to design a personalized exercise plan suited to your fitness level.

Some tricks to keep you motivated

  • Choose an activity you enjoy and that suits your lifestyle. Ask yourself: Do you prefer to work out alone? In a group? Outside? Indoors? In the water?
  • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Give yourself a goal, like being able to cycle up the big hill in a month.
  • Work progressively: start with a small goal, like walking twice a week for 10 minutes, then gradually increase.
  • Anticipate potential obstacles and strategies for overcoming them. If you are too tired when you get home from work, try walking over your lunch hour for instance.
  • Keep a log of your activities so you can see your progress, and stay motivated.
  • Get a pedometer to be motivated to walk more.
  • Set a date for starting your physical activity and write it on your agenda: you now have a date with your health.
  • Bring a friend. The other person will encourage you and vice versa. Joining a group can also be motivating, as well as a way to meet new people.
  • Register for a course: if you’ve paid for it, you will be more inclined to show up.

Some advice about respecting your limits

  • Exercise at your own pace. If you want to increase the intensity, do so progressively.
  • Work out at a pace that keeps you slightly puffed but still able to carry on a conversation.

Even a little physical activity can significantly benefit your health and your diabetes. The goal is not to become an Olympic athlete, but to have FUN and to experience the physical and mental benefits from regular exercise.

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

Scientific review: Cathy Dresdell, M.Sc., Kinesiologist.

June 2014 (updated on July 2018)

© All rights reserved Diabetes Québec

Adapted from:

Bellemare P.  (Autumn 2013). “Faire de l’activité physique …pas toujours évident,” Plein Soleil, Diabète Québec, p. 22-24

References:

CHUM Hotel-Dieu Metabolic Medecin Day-Care Centre, 2013, Understand Your Diabetes and Live a Healthy Life. Montreal : Les Éditions Rogers limitée. Available in English in the store.

Sigal R, Armstrong M, Bacon S et al. Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada: Physical Activity and Diabetes. Can J Diabetes 2018; 42 (Suppl 1): S54-S63.

Statistics Canada (2015). Activité physique directement mesurée chez les adultes, 2012 et 2013. [Online] Founded at https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2015001/article/14135-fra.htm (page consultée le 23 juillet 2018)