It's no secret that exercise is important. For everyone, not just people with diabetes. It helps you to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, it boosts your mood and can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases (tell that to my pancreas!). Then there's the added benefit that it helps control blood glucose levels. I know the advantages, and I do do light exercise, like I love walking and when I'm at my Mum and Dad's I use the cross-trainer.
But actually going to the gym? Or an exercise class? Or running in public? Nope. The thought of exercising with other people has always filled me with dread. What if I'm not as fit as them? What if I can't keep up? What if I make a fool of myself? Basically, I avoided any kind of 'public exercise' at all costs.
I've just started my final year at university. It's going to be a stressful year. What final year at university isn't?! When I'm stressed, my coping mechanisms aren't all that great. Things tend to end up with me not managing my diabetes well which then makes everything else more difficult because my blood sugars are crazy high. So, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and really get into exercise. That way, when I'm stressed, I can hit the gym.
Monday evening, I said to my housemate that I was going to go to the "Power of 3" exercise class Tuesday afternoon - 15 minutes cardio, 15 minutes weights, 15 minutes floor work. By telling her, I was making myself accountable. I told her I was going, so I had to follow through. So, after class yesterday afternoon, I headed over to the gym on campus and paid for the class.
I was so nervous. All those "what ifs..." came up again. I was ready to leave when the teacher walked in.
"Erm...yeah...yes...yes I am."
"First time at a class?"
"First time at actually getting into exercise ever, besides walking."
The teacher laughed.
"You'll be fine. Do what you can. Don't push yourself. You don't want to hurt yourself because you're pushing too hard the first week."
Others began to arrive and the class began.
15 minutes aerobics. 15 minutes weights. 15 minutes floor work.
It took me a while to get into it. And I was very self-conscious at the start. But I enjoyed it. I felt good after. And I was so proud that I'd actually faced that fear of exercising in public. So, I decided to take advantage of the huge student discount and pay upfront for five sessions. That way I have to go again. I've paid now, and don't want that money to go to waste.
Oh, and my blood sugars held steady - 8.5mmol/l before the class started, 6.8mmol/l after! Beginners luck?!