Health and Fitness: 8 Obstacles to Exercising and How You Can Overcome Them

Obstacle #4: “Physical limitations make exercise difficult.”

As you are likely well aware, diabetes can come with a variety of complications, and if you’ve had the disease for a long period of time, you may be experiencing symptoms of various forms of neuropathy. You may find that certain exercises are difficult to do, which can feel discouraging.


Smiling happy active elderly woman

Don’t worry. I’m not here to discount that feeling. I’ve felt the frustration associated with physical limitations, and it definitely doesn’t lend itself to a desire to put the time and energy into working out. However, exercise is an essential part of disease management, and can be instrumental in helping avoid developing future complications.

If you suffer from proliferative retinopathy there are certain types of exercises to avoid, including those that significantly increase your blood pressure. Yoga, intense weightlifting, and certain types of swimming should also be avoided.

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, you likely have experienced a loss of balance and pain in your feet. Give your feet and joints a rest and opt for cycling and swimming over walking and jogging. Yoga is also an excellent option, and could help improve your balance.

Important: If you’re suffering from neuropathy, be sure to consult your doctor before implementing a new exercise routine. The American Diabetes Association recommends checking your blood sugar both before and after working out, as it’s important to gauge how your body is going to respond to physical activity. Finally, if your blood sugar is over 250 (this varies slightly by individual), caution should be used when exercising.

Obstacle #5: “I don’t have enough time.”

There never quite feels like there’s enough time in the day, and if you do manage to squeeze a few minutes out for yourself, it’s difficult to spend them doing something active. Because how nice does a bath sound? Or a nap? Or just watching your favorite TV show?


Couple - active hikers hiking in Yosemite

While exercise can’t put more time in the day, there are things you can do to make the most of your free time.

Try shooting for 30 minutes of exercise daily. If you can’t get that all in at once, try breaking it up. Studies show you can get similar benefits from splitting that activity up into periods of 10 minutes or more. Meaning, if you can’t spare a 30-minute block of time, you can take three 10-minute walks, or two 15-minute bike rides– whatever activity suits your needs and wants best!

Multitask! Will you be walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes? Why not watch your favorite show while you do it? Going for a walk? Try listening to an audiobook while you stroll. This is a great way to incorporate something you’d likely be doing anyway with something that’s good for your body.

Find ways to sneak in exercise. Work in a multi-story building? Avoid the elevator and take the stairs. Let someone else take the spot closest to the grocery store entrance, and get some extra steps by taking one towards the back. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, park further away from your destination and walk a few blocks to get where you’re going. Do you and your significant other plan dates around meals? Try planning your next one around a new activity.

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Obstacle #6: “I don’t have the energy,”

Remember when we talked about how little time we all have? Well, all of the things that consume our time also consume our energy. By the end of the workday, I’m exhausted and I still have to find the energy to make dinner, run errands, and do what feels like a trillion other things before I get to fall asleep and do it all over again. Unfortunately, heading to the gym doesn’t usually seem like a priority.


Young man running at park during autumn morning.

Did you know that physical activity actually boosts your energy levels? Not only does exercise help you feel refreshed; overtime, it can actually help improve the quality of your sleep, which also increases your energy!

Try working out in the morning. Not only will you be starting your day off with a boost of energy, it’s one last thing you’ll have to worry about in the evening when things might be especially hectic.

Just start walking… or lifting… or riding… you get it. Even if you tell yourself you’re only going to exercise for 5 minutes, once you get started you might find that you have a little more energy than you thought and will be able to put a little more time in than you anticipated. And if you don’t? At least you got 5 minutes in!

Make the most of your lunch, and have a working lunch so you can use your break to sneak in a quick workout.

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