Monday, May 7, 2012

Exercise: Why I No Longer Hate It or how I became healthier without really trying.

I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and I know it.  I have a loving husband, great kids and grandkids, supportive family, wonderful friends and a brain that works fairly well.  In regards to my diabetes I’m lucky because I’ve, so far, been able to control it with oral meds, diet and exercise.  I’m lucky because I haven’t developed any complications yet.  I’m also lucky in that I was able to retire early and have the time I need to deal with D.  Not everyone is so lucky.

Life with diabetes is no easy task.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of time.  There is always testing and meds and more testing and food planning and testing and exercise, not to mention the endless thinking about it.  If you try to add all that to an already busy schedule it can be daunting.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether or not my D control would be as good if I was still working at a full time job.  I’ve decided that maybe it wouldn’t be so great.  I remember, back in the day, coming home from work and feeling overwhelmed just with the idea of what to make for dinner, let alone fitting in time to exercise.  I know for a fact that exercise can take a back seat to so many other things in our lives even though it is so important.  I get that.

I have tried many times over the years to successfully incorporate exercise into my schedule.  I have realized for quite some time how important it is.  I have succeeded in the past to exercise regularly but was horrible at keeping with it.  Continuity was not part of the scene.  Falling off the exercise wagon was something I did easily and I sucked at climbing back on.  This is no longer the case for me….so why is that?  I think there are several reasons.

First, I have time.  Being retired certainly gives you time.  It’s not that I’m not busy with stuff but I get the luxury of doing said stuff when I feel like it instead of being on a strict schedule.  I do have regular responsibilities but I don’t answer to anyone (which I LOVE, in case you hadn’t already figured that out.)  It’s important to realize that having the time doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to immediately start exercising regularly.  If that was the case, I’d be running marathons by now.

Second, I have equipment.  A year ago, or so, Ray and I bought a recumbent bike so we could exercise here at home during bad weather etc.  Just this year we added an awesome treadmill to our “gym” and we love it!  We also have a small tv and DVD/VCR hooked up in front of the equipment so we can be distracted while we walk/ride.

Third, and most important, I have developed a new attitude.  2012 seems to have become my year to focus more closely on my health.  (It figures that I’d finally figure it out just in time for the world to end, but hey…I got here.)  I have taken a serious look at what I’ve been eating (and how much) and made some changes, as I talked about here , and that increase in food awareness has spilled over into my exercise world.  I seem to be possessed with a desire to do this right!  This new attitude, combined with my available time and “gym” have come together in the perfect keep-fit storm.  The planets have aligned!  Kate finally gets the picture!  Praise <insert deity of choice> and pass the asparagus!
Exercise has finally become part of my day.  I exercise every day and I love it.  I feel better, I’m losing weight and it definitely helps to keep my glucose in better order.  Exercise for me can look different from day to day.  At the very least I will do a 20 minute power walk on the treadmill.  Another day I might ride the bike for 30 minutes or walk for 40.  Maybe I’ll do a combination of things that may include yard work or a hike in the woods.  It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s just important that I do it!  There are occasionally days when I can’t exercise and I end up feeling “not so good”.  I have less energy and feel blah.  I guess I’m getting to where I’m addicted.

So, yay me, but that’s me.  Not everyone has all those “luxuries” and it’s important to fit exercise into our days.  We’ve all heard the numerous ways that we can fit some exercise into our everyday lives, like parking on the outskirts of the lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator but how do we find time for a real workout?  I don’t know the answer, but my best advice is for everyone to realize just how important exercise is for keeping serious illnesses at bay.  It’s good for your body and mind.  Think about your day and figure out where you can squeeze in just 15-20 minutes.  I know you can do that!  If you can manage to just begin I’m certain that the benefits will soon have you hooked.

In closing, I want to share this video with you.  It’s not long and is self-explanatory.  I dare you to watch this without feeling motivated, even if you don’t cry like I did.  This is an amazing testament to perseverance and determination.  If this man can do this, I know all of us can do a better job of adding exercise to our lives.  Just do it!


1 comment:

  1. Kate,
    It was nice "meeting" you on at least one twitter chat this week. I enjoyed reading this post, and I'm impressed with how far you have come in terms of exercise. The incredible irony here is that I just (literally minutes ago) watched this video, posted by a friend on fb, and then saw it here as I got to the end of your post. Inspirational, indeed! Anyway, have a great weekend.


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