Overcome the most common barriers to physical activity with some of the following strategies.

When choosing a barrier to work on, it is good to work on one at a time. Pick one to focus on each week for the next three weeks, and see how you do. Sometimes, changing your thoughts about barriers to physical activity is all you need to get going.

  1. I have no time.

    Every minute of physical activity has health benefits, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. Start with 5 to 10 minutes at a time; at different times throughout the day. This may be all you need to get going.

  2. I am too tired.

    Regular physical activity will give you more energy and help you sleep better. It may be hard to get started, but once you start, you’ll feel better. In the end, it will be worth the effort.

  3. I do not have the motivation.

    Start with five minutes of physical activity, and allow yourself to stop if you are not enjoying it. That way you can at least start, and once you are into it, you may want to keep going.

  4. It costs too much to join a gym.

    You do not need a gym membership or a personal trainer to be active. You can do simple things around the house or in your neighbourhood that do not cost money – go for a short walk or start a project in your yard.

  5. I cannot be physically active on my own.

    You may be surprised by the support you receive. Doing your activity with others can help to get you started and keep you going. Your local recreation centre or staff at your Diabetes Centre may also be able to help you find activity partners.

Tips to address concerns about diabetes and physical activity

  1. I am afraid of health complications.

    Light to moderate physical activities (such as walking, working around the house, and gardening) are safe and important ways to manage your diabetes. Start slowly and you will see benefits develop over time.

  2. I am afraid of injury or re-injury.

    Take care of any injuries. It is difficult to be active if you are hurting. See your doctor or physiotherapist about any nagging pains that may limit your physical activity. Remember to take good care of your feet, and always wear proper foot wear.

  3. I am afraid of getting low blood glucose (sugar).

    Plan ahead. It is unlikely that you will have lows if you eat regularly and monitor your blood glucose (sugar). Always carry a form of quick-acting sugar with you such as hard candy. Discuss how to avoid lows with your diabetes care provider.