15-Minute Strength Workout for Diabetes
If only our fitness needs would hibernate for the winter. Alas, it's up to us to be active on a regular basis to stay strong and fit—even when the weather isn't on our side. Sure, we could join a gym or take fitness classes at our local church or YMCA. But that means leaving the comfy confines of our homes and braving the weather. Here, we've created an efficient, heart-pumping workout that doesn't require you to do either.
For more, check out our At Home Workouts for Any Fitness Level.
What You'll Do
In this workout, you'll alternate between periods of effort and periods of rest. This on-off pattern of exercise, called interval training, allows you to work harder in a shorter amount of time than you would during continuous activity (like a longer walk or bike ride). Adding interval workouts like this one to your routine can lead to faster gains in fitness and insulin sensitivity than traditional workouts alone.
The workout has two parts: the warmup and the circuit.The warmup will get blood flowing to your muscles. The circuit alternates between fitness boosting and strength-building intervals for a total-body workout. You can do the circuit just once, or repeat it a few times for a longer workout.
What You'll Need
Comfortable sneakers, a timer or stopwatch, and at least 15 minutes.
The Warmup (3 minutes)
Wake up your muscles with these gentle moves. For each, begin slowly. Gradually increase your speed as is comfortable. Repeat each move for 30 seconds.
- March in place Lift one foot off the ground, then the other. Gradually increase your knee height until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
- Side steps Step to the right with your right leg (A). Step your left leg to meet your right, then tap your left foot on the floor (B). Reverse the move: step to the left with your left leg, step with your right leg to meet your left, and tap your right foot on the floor.
- Walk forward and back Clear your space. With your chest and head up, take three steps forward, walking heel to toe. Pause, then take three steps backward, walking toe to heel.
- Shoulder raises Stand tall with your arms at your sides, elbows bent slightly (A). Roll your shoulders back and down to engage your upper back. Raise your arms straight out to each side until they are parallel to the floor at shoulder level (B). Pause, then return your arms to your sides.
- Shoulder presses Stand tall; roll your shoulders back and down. Start by bending your elbows and holding your hands up near your shoulders (A). Raise your hands up and slightly to the front, as if you were placing something on a high shelf (B). Lower your hands back down.
- Arm swings Start with your arms at your sides. Swing your arms forward until they are parallel to the floor at shoulder level (A). Then swing your arms backward as far as is comfortable (B).
The Circuit (12 minutes)
Do the exercises in each interval for 2 minutes, then rest for 1 minute. Then, move on to the next interval. For a challenge, repeat the circuit two or three times, taking 2 minutes of rest after each complete circuit.
Interval 1 (Hips & Thighs)
Stand in front of a step (or stairs) with your feet flat on the floor (A). Step up with your right foot (B), then step your left foot up to meet it (C). Pause here, then step back down, first with your right foot, followed by your left. Continue, alternating which foot you lead with. Keep your chest up and your torso tall, using your thighs andglutes to raise you up. Place your entire foot on the step for stability.
Interval 2 (Abs & Back)
Stand tall with your knees soft and your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on opposite shoulders or elbows (A). Pull your belly button toward your spine and tuck your ribs in. Keep your shoulders back and down as you gently twist at the waist and bend forward to pull your right shoulder down toward your left hip (B). Pause, then lift back up to standing. Continue, alternating sides. Slow down and focus on the movement to fully engage your muscles.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms extended toward the ceiling (A). Relax your shoulders and gaze toward the ceiling as you use your abs to lift your shoulder blades off the floor, arms and chest reaching straight up (B). Pause here, then slowly lower your shoulder blades and head back down to the floor (A). Pause briefly, then repeat. Exhale through your mouth as you lift up to help avoid straining your neck forward.
Interval 3 (Strength & Endurance)
Lateral Shuffle with Squat
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, hands in front of your body for balance. Send your buttocks back to squat down slightly (A). Stay in this shallow squat as you take a wide step to the right (B). Step your left foot in so your feet are hip-width apart. Take a second step to the right with both feet, then lower down into a full squat by sending your buttocks back and down (C). Keep your knees behind your toes, and your chest up. Push through your heels to raise back up to a shallow squat. Repeat the entire sequence to the left. Continue, alternating sides. Keep your head and chest up as you squat and shuffle.
Interval 4 (Chest & Shoulders)
Start on all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips (A). Relax your shoulders away from your ears and pull your belly button toward your spine. Lift your right hand and place it about 6 inches in front of its starting position (B). Repeat with your left hand (C). Hold for a couple of seconds, then walk your hands back to the start in the same order. Repeat, alternating which hand you start with.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge at your hips to lean forward slightly, sending your buttocks behind you. Bend your knees and gaze forward. Extend your arms toward
the floor, palms facing each other (A). Bend your elbows as you pull your arms up and back (B). Hug your elbows in as you lift, then pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top. Slowly lower your arms back to the start. Repeat. Engage your arms and back as if you're holding a heavy bag of groceries.
This story originally appeared in Diabetic Living Spring 2020.