One of the biggest obstacles to staying on track for fitness is losing motivation. People who are just starting an exercise program can find themselves quickly tired of the same routine. Keeping exercise appealing and maintaining a good fitness perspective is key to long-term success.
If you had to watch the same exact episode of your favorite television show every day for the rest of your life, you'd probably be banging your head against the wall by the end of the week. You'd change the channel, pick up a book, or do anything you could to avoid something you once enjoyed.
Yet many people starting on a fitness program feel compelled to follow the same routine, day after day after day, and consequently fall off the exercise wagon due to sheer boredom. Try these strategies for keeping your workouts interesting.
Mix and match. Play racquetball with a friend one week and try water polo the next.
Buddy up. Get a walking partner or an exercise buddy to keep you motivated (and vice-versa).
Join a team. Find a local softball league or aerobics group. Even when you aren't feeling much like exercising, your commitment to other team members may get you moving.
Relocate. If you like to bike, walk, or jog, try a new route or locale.
Go for the goal. Set new fitness targets for yourself.
Reward yourself. When you reach a new goal, pat yourself on the back with a non-edible reward.
Make some noise. Forget the radio and your CDs and customize your own soundtrack for working out.
Be well read. Exercise your mind as well as your body with an audiobook.
Sound off. Try it without the iPod for once, and enjoy the sounds of nature and the neighborhood.
Keeping It in Perspective
Many people, particularly those with type 2 diabetes, start exercising for the sole purpose of losing weight. When the pounds don't drop as quickly or as completely as they'd like, they get discouraged and give up. If you take away any message about exercise and diabetes, let it be this: Even if you don't lose weight, your investment in exercise is still paying off in reduced heart disease risk and better blood glucose control.
And exercise simply makes you feel better, both physically and mentally. Your energy level will rise and the endorphins released by your brain during exercise will boost your sense of well-being and may help fight diabetes-related depression. Don't give up before you really get started. You owe it to yourself to keep going.