In all aspects, the type 2 diabetic needs the support of a friend, spouse or partner to motivate and support the healthy diabetic lifestyle.
Exercise Helps Maintain Blood Glucose
For those with type 2 diabetes, the benefits of exercise are well documented. Regular, moderate exercise helps lower glucose levels, reduces weight and lowers blood pressure. Exercise can help in balancing cholesterol, as well as bring flexibility and strength to muscles. Learn more about diabetes management with exercise by reading Exercising Smart With Type 2 Diabetes.
Avoid Exercise Pitfalls
Try addressing the top pitfalls with your partner, and come up with solutions for each. The following are some common excuses a type 2 diabetic may give for not exercising regularly.
- Busy, Busy, Busy. This is probably the most common deterrent to attempt to start an exercise program: between work, school, children and activities, most Americans have little to no time to squeeze in a work out, short of losing precious time for sleeping. Suggest helping to work exercise into the daily routine, try putting time blocks for exercise on the calendar, or starting taking the family pet or children on regular walks.
- Fear of Injury or Making Diabetes Worse. In this case, encourage your partner to have a conversation with his or her physician, and offer to attend the session. Easing into an exercise routing is a great way to reduce risk for strain or injury, and low-impact activities like walking or exercising in water cause minimal impact to joints or muscles.
- Money. Many times, a spouse will have visions of unaffordable gym fees in order to make an exercise routine a regular affair. The simplest suggestion would be to work free activities into an exercise routine such as walking, hiking, or bicycling. Many employers offer free or discounted gym access, and check out the local recreation center, which can offer discounts or free membership to residents.
Supporting Your Diabetic Partner
Research from the American Diabetes Association has long showed that when couples work together, diabetes is more manageable, for both the diabetic and the supportive spouse.
The most important factor is to encourage the diabetic partner, and help them incorporate exercise into their routine, or into activities you do as a couple. The Weight Control Information Network offers these three tips for incorporating exercise into a routine:
First, set up goals, such as walking 10 minutes a day and working up to 30 minutes at least three times a week. Second, visit your doctor to discuss your exercise program, if necessary. This is a helpful tip for men over 40 and women over 50. Third, follow up on how to fit more activity into your life, including the following: decide on activities to do, schedule exercise, identify the support group and pick a start date.