Changing your Definition of Exercise

Healthy Living

Changing your Definition of Exercise

Kathryn GentileContributor: Kathryn Gentile, ACSM-CEP, EIM level II, CPT, CSN, DCES

Do you cringe at the thought of exercise? You aren't alone! Breathlessness, sweat, cramping, sore muscles, hypoglycemia - there are so many perceived negatives. I get that, but physical activity is important for countless reasons, including improved mood, better sleep, more energy, diabetes management, and the ability to maintain independence and prevent falls - to name a few! The most important thing is to be realistic and do something sustainable for you. We’re not all runners, bikers, or weightlifters.

Have you ever thought of changing your definition of exercise? Instead of calling it a workout or exercise routine, think of it as daily physical activity or daily movement. Exercise doesn't have to be going to the gym, running, playing sports, or any of the traditional things that come to mind. How about recreational dancing, cleaning, yard work, or photography? There are so many ways to get up on our feet and move. There's even a lot we can do in the comfort of our home, never leaving a chair.

The hardest part is always getting started. Start slow - maybe add some seated exercises while watching tv at the end of the day. Or go on a short walk at lunch with your coworkers. Look for fitness programs you can follow on tv, YouTube, or on your smartphone. Try to carve out a small amount of time for activity. Think of it as something you’re doing for your happiness rather than a chore. Mindset is huge! Once you’re done, note how you feel later on, we often end up loving how good regular movement makes us feel.

Once you're hooked on physical activity, work up to a goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. Be sure to check in with your healthcare provider and let them know your plans for daily movement. If you need any help, find a trainer or join an exercise group for support and encouragement.

Kathryn Gentile, ACSM-CEP, EIM level II, CPT, CSN, DCES is an ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer, Sports Nutritionist Coach, and holds a level two Exercise is Medicine credential. She received her Bachelor of Science from Ave Maria University and is currently a Masters student studying Clinical Exercise Physiology at West Chester University of PA. Kathryn works at Integrated Diabetes Services as an Exercise Physiologist and provides one-on-one guidance for patients looking for individualized exercise plans. Connect with Kathryn on Instagram at @kathryngentile, and follow Integrated Diabetes on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.