Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Confession #1: I do not consistently exercise.

I've been successful in my Diabetes Management.  Because of that, I've been accused of exercising like a "good girl".  While I do feel it's important to follow the Doctor's advice, I am the one living this life.  So, sometimes I choose to go off track.

Confession:  I'm terrible at consistently exercising.  I don't like exercise for exercise sake.  I would much rather do a physical activity because it's fun.  I just can't do the same activity ALL the time.  I get bored way too easily.  So, I go through spurts. 

 I'll be really into Zumba for a few months (I love dancing and Zumba feels like I'm in a NYC dance class again).  Then I just won't feel like going one week.  So, I stop & don't get back to it for months.

Last year I was in a musical where I was in about 7 dance numbers.  So, I was active for a few months there with rehearsals, then performances (and even dropped 5 lbs.).  Afterwards, I needed a break, so I didn't do anything but rest for a month.

This year, I've been dealing with an old shoulder injury flare up & a lower back flare up.  I was in Physical Therapy for two months.  I did exercises that kicked my butt at PT for 45 minutes, 3 times a week.  Then I did exercises for 20 minutes at home every other day.  7 days a week of exercises for two months straight.  Yikes!!

After PT, I was kinda done and wanted a break.  I didn't want to do any kind of activity at all.  So I took a few days off.  

Hubby & I have now picked up Squash and joined a club near our house.  It's convenient and we can get a great, totally fun workout in 30-45 minutes.  I've also begun hiking again.  I have a couple groups I go with when I can squeeze it in.  One week I walked or hiked a total of 10.5 miles in 8 days.  Yeah, it was a loooong winter and I'm enjoying getting outside whenever I can.  Hubby and I plan to take a canoe or kayaks out this summer (provided I can paddle without pain).  We did that a couple years ago and really enjoyed it.

Do I do my 5 days a week of PT exercises?  No. While my back is doing well, I still get pain with my shoulder when I do my exercises.  So, I've stopped and I'm seeing new specialists for that.  My shoulder gets aggravated playing Squash & hiking, but it's just achiness and won't do any further damage.  I'm having fun, so I'm willing to deal with a little achy pain.

This is how it works for me.  An ebb & flow of exercise.  A constant choice.  Sometimes I'm gung-ho and get a lot in, other times I take a break.  Most Diabetic Educators will tell you that consistent exercise is best.  My numbers concur.  The more consistently active I am, the better my numbers.  At the same time, I am just NOT a consistent person.  I accept that and I accept the higher numbers when I'm less active.  (NOTE: high numbers for me are not dangerous. You may need to exercise more consistently if your numbers are dangerously high.  Check with your Doctor or Educator).

I don't push myself to do something every day or even every week. I need to be able to be active for the rest of my life and that means allowing myself to find new things, take breaks and be inconsistent.  This, I can keep up with long-term.  If I HAD to do something every day or even 150 minutes a week, I'd always be "cheating".  By giving myself permission to be inconsistent, I get to enjoy and celebrate the fun things I find to do.  

This past year I've been able to keep my A1C in check by being inconsistent.  If/when that changes, I'll re-evaluate and make adjustments.

Also, what I've noticed is that I want to get out of the house more.  I find myself looking for reasons to have fun being active.  I could get more consistent over time.  Who knows. My list of choices grows every year.  I feel it's more important to create long-term habits instead of pressure filled requirements that I can't keep up with.  I will continue to find sustainable ways to be inconsistently active.  

How do you adjust what you're "supposed to do" for sustainability?

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