The impact of a diabetes diagnosis impacts each life differently. For some, the fear of dramatic lifestyle change is overwhelming. There are so many “how to” experts ready to remind you what you have been doing wrong and throw you into changes that may seem too big to maintain. When we talk to those who have moved into their own versions of successful diabetes management, we are inspired by how simple and effective their small efforts combined to become lifestyle management.
Movement over exercise, is one of those simple and effective techniques we hear about. Those who can remove the expectations of becoming fitness fanatics and simply find joyful ways to move, often report obtaining the same side-effects of exercise, such as; improved insulin uptake; changes in body weight; reduced risk of heart disease; and lower blood pressure.
Find your joyful movement
Finding your version of joyful movement is key. For some it may be gardening, taking a walk and enjoying the view, dancing, swimming, or playing with the grandchildren. Your movement prescription should be fit for you. To help with choosing the right movement for you and your goals, it may be beneficial seeing an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (or AEP). An AEP is a university-qualified allied health professional that helps people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, with management and improvement of lifestyle (4). (Check out our exceptional team here!)
Beyond movement as medicine, there are many other ways to make simple and effective changes to your lifestyle. Excitingly, the access to diabetes care, knowledge and resources, is better than ever before. It is important to remember though, that one size is not suitable for everyone. A person-centred approach provides guidance on when and how to adjust these recommendations to suit you, wherever you are on this journey.
Whether the lifestyle change you want to focus on involves nutrition, smoking, alcohol, exercise, mindset, stress management or any other factors, an interprofessional (IP) approach may be an effective way to find the best approach for you. A social worker’s role, for example, in this IP model approach, is very diverse but is not often thought to be the first person to approach to help you with lifestyle management. Social workers can provide meaningful interventions to drive the lifestyle changes an individual might need. This may include education for you the individual, the family group, or even helping you navigate the many different services that are available to help you find the support you might need.
When you are ready to make some changes, no matter how big or small, finding the right people to support you is a simple first step to take.
DeCoster, V.A. (2001). Challenges of Type 2 Diabetes and the role of health care social work.A neglected area of practice. Health and Social work.26.26-27.