Top five tips to consistent exercise 21 June 2022 By Jonathon Fermanis, Accredited Exercise Physiologist Consistency is key – it’s a common saying, and certainly rings true for most things we look to achieve in life. When it comes to exercise the saying doesn’t only relate, but is a fundamental component of any successful exercise regime. Simultaneously, it can be one of the most difficult aspects of an exercise program to maintain. Whether it’s having to look after the kids (or grandkids), miserable weather or a doctor’s appointment, many things get in the way of consistent exercise. The good news is that anyone can build a consistent exercise regime. All it takes is a bit of open-minded thinking and some action-taking. Here are my top five tips that you can use to build your consistency. 1 Exercise at a time that works best for you. There is no one time of the day that is best for people to exercise. Some experts suggest that exercising in the morning allows you to utilise your heightened metabolism post-exercise and will bring about greater changes in weight loss as you use more energy through the day. However, when building consistency, if the morning doesn’t work for you look for an alternative time. Try analysing your day using a notepad – write down all the times of the day you’re busy, and find the gaps. Once you’ve identified a time for exercise, schedule it in! The time may change day to day, but by planning your schedule you can best identify the times of the day that will work for you. 2 Shift your mindset to recognise the wonders of physical progress. Nobody is perfect and we all have our low-energy periods or limitations, but it’s important to remember that exercise is a great opportunity to move and feel good. If you can move your arms, you can exercise sitting down with resistance bands, free weights, pedals or even cans of food from the pantry. If you can sit and stand from a chair, you can build strength in your legs. If you can walk, you have an opportunity to help your heart pump blood around the body and appreciate the environment you find yourself in whether it be a park, bush walk or beach. If you can complete resistance exercise, you can enjoy the process of building strength. Exercise is an opportunity to celebrate achievements of the human body and what YOU can do. Recognising this is an important step in building consistency, and can help provide the motivation to keep the circle turning. 3 Use exercise to maintain a more flexible life. Exercise is essential in managing your diabetes and maintaining good health. One of the most useful parts of exercising consistently is being able to live a more flexible lifestyle when managing your health. Exercise can assist in reducing your blood glucose levels in both the short and long term by using the glucose in your blood for energy as we exercise and recover, and by increasing the strength of our insulin. By exercising consistently, you can experience these benefits on an ongoing basis, meaning you may be able to achieve more flexibility in your lifestyle. That doesn’t mean we can eat and drink whatever we want! But what it does mean is that you may not need to be as strict when cutting that birthday cake or catching up with some friends over dinner if you plan your physical activity accordingly and consistently 4 Develop a plan. Building consistency often isn’t something we can simply figure out as we travel along through our lives. More often than not we face barriers that prevent us from being physically active every day. By developing a plan, you will be able to increase your likelihood of staying consistent. Include in your plan the type of what physical activity you’ll do, when you’ll do it, what equipment or space you need to do it, and how long you will do it for. Note down things that might get in your way and how to overcome them, and pencil in times for review. Implementing a planned approach ensures you know exactly what you’ll be doing every step of the way. 5 Develop a goal. Staying motivated is one of the most challenging aspects of any consistent exercise regime. The best way to stay consistent is by creating a goal. A goal will help you stay focused and keeps your motivation high by making sure we have something meaningful to work towards. It can also assist in measuring progress and show how your consistency pays off in your results. By creating a well-planned goal (consider the point above) you can substantially increase your likelihood of staying focused and consistent. Make sure you set a combination of both short (4-8 weeks) and long-term (3 months +) goals as well. Short term goals are a great way to build up small wins and keep the ball rolling, while long-term goals are essential in maintaining consistency and giving purpose to your physical activity. SMART Goals are a great way to do this. Try developing a goal that is: SpecificMeasureableAttainableRelevantTime-framedCheck out this link on SMART goals for more information. Building consistency in your physical activity is no simple feat. But by understanding and following these simple tips you’ll be well-equipped to start and maintain your physical activity journey! Speak with one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists via the NDSS Helpline by calling 1800 637 700 to start developing your plan to consistent physical activity (or if you have any other questions about your diabetes management) today.