Dear Dr Arzinda Fatima,
I am a 45 year old diabetic patient. I follow the diabetic diet plan and take medicines regularly, but my doctor has also advised me to walk 30 min daily. I want to walk but I cannot find time for walk, I have a very busy schedule, when I come back from office at 7pm I’m so tired and exhausted I don’t feel like going out for a walk I just lie down and watch TV . I can’t wake up for early morning walk….I feel stressed all the time. Please guide me how to follow my doctor’s advice regarding walk.
Dear busy officer,
Your question tells me that you are well aware of the importance of walk in the management of diabetes. What I want to emphasize here is that walk will not only control your weight and blood glucose level; exercise is also a very effective tool to combat stress. Your problem is lack of motivation for exercise. You are justifying yourself by giving excuses that you don’t have time for walk. I am not saying that you are lying about your busy schedule. You are right about your hectic work schedule but once you know the importance of walk you can still find time for walk. Here I will give you few simple tips that will help you find time for exercise.
It is not necessary to walk for 30 minutes in one go. You can always break the time for exercise into 2-3 small chunks that are manageable. 10 min in the morning 10 min in the evening, or 3-5 min chunks of various exercises throughout the day whenever you find a break. If you try to start with 30 min walk initially, you’ll feel tired and will be unable to continue for long. The ideal way is to start with 3 min walk a day for the first 3 days and then gradually increase time of walk up to 20 min.
Another good idea is to make a diary or journal in which you right down the time of walk with date. Keep on recording your walk time every day for 1 week. At the end of the week when you look at your diary you will feel a sense of achievement and you can reward yourself by buying yourself a gift or eating your favorite snack. When you have achieved your goal for one week, you can set a new goal or target for next week and keep on repeating it till you develop habit of walk and exercise. It will take 30-40 days to establish this habit. While establishing a habit you have to do repetitive things like walk at the same time, same place, with the same person every day.
Instead of worrying about finding enough time for walk, you can bring about small changes in your daily routine to become more active. For example you can park your car 1 km away from your office so that you have to walk the last Km to office, or you can get off one stop earlier if you are going by bus. In the office you should use stairs instead of lifts or elevators. While in office get up from your chair and do some stretching or take a 2 min stroll down the corridor at least 3-4 times during your working hours. It will make you fresh and more energetic and your work capacity will also improve. At home, you can place a treadmill or exercise cycle in your TV lounge and exercise on it while watching TV. You can do 4-5 sit-ups every time you go to the toilet. In this way you can make exercise a part of your daily routine.
Instead of thinking that walk is a burden or tiresome activity, you should associate walk with pleasure and make exercise a happy time for you. This will give you dual benefit of controlling your diabetes and stress at the same time. I hope you will find these tips helpful and start incorporating them in your life from today.
Dr. Arzinda Fatima