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Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

In a Rush? Try 10-Minute Workouts

Here’s how to squeeze in your 30 minutes of exercise a day

By Lindsey Wahowiak , ,

Photo credit: G&J Fey/Glow Images

It’s one of the most frequent excuses: “I’d love to work out, but I just don’t have the time!” You’re busy. We get that. But getting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity almost every day is so important. It has a whole slew of benefits, not the least of which is the way exercise affects blood glucose levels.

The American Diabetes Association recommends regular physical activity as a key part of managing diabetes along with proper meal planning, taking medications as prescribed, and keeping stress low. Physical activity makes your cells more sensitive to insulin so the insulin can work more efficiently. During exercise, cells can remove glucose from the bloodstream using a mechanism that is independent of insulin’s effect.

But if you don’t have time to get to the gym, if carving out a big chunk of your day is out of the question, never fear—you can still fit a workout into your schedule. There’s no reason your 30 minutes of exercise (as recommended by the ADA, the American Heart Association, and others) need to be in one block of time.

You’ve heard alÓl of the effective little tricks to get more activity into your day: “Park farther from the store!” “Take the stairs instead of the elevator!” This isn’t that. These are real 10-minute workouts you can do three times a day to improve your aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (stretching and strength) health. You’ll be on your way to a half hour of exercise before you know it.

1. Calories In? Calories Out

Maybe the easiest way to get moving is to take a walk. And trainer Stew Smith, a certified military fitness trainer and strength and conditioning specialist, suggests walking for 10 minutes after every meal as a simple way to work in your exercise. So if you’re eating three square meals a day? You’re taking three 10-minute walks a day. Boom—30 minutes of activity. You hit your goal.

“It’s a good way … of getting your metabolism up,” Smith says. “It’s one of these ways to keep your energy levels up. And you’re burning calories at the same time. If you push yourself just a little bit, you can burn off that [high] blood sugar a little bit.”

Stretch
The best time to stretch is after your walk.
Photo credit: G&J Fey/Glow Images

Take Action:
Strap on your sneakers and do a few laps around the block after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bring your dinner date or your breakfast buddies, too. At the office? Take a break for some fresh air after lunch.

2. Get Moving Quickly

Limited time need not restrict how many areas of your body you exercise. Chris Jordan, MS, director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., helped develop what he calls the Seven-Minute Workout: a series of 12 exercises, each performed for 30 seconds, with a pause of up to five seconds between them, to work the entire body. Jordan says the high-intensity workout was originally designed for on-the-go businesspeople to do in hotels, but it can be a real benefit to anyone who needs a workout but only has a wall, a floor, and a chair to work with. Jordan himself uses it when he can’t get to the gym.

While a high-intensity training (HIT) regimen has been shown to be as effective as 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise in some studies, a seven-minute-long workout won’t replace a beginner’s 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. But building up to do a few sets of the series can definitely be beneficial. “The exercises are deliberately ordered and sequenced so that you can maximize your efficiency,” Jordan says. “You’re moving continuously, which helps with the intensity. The key to the circuit is: If you can move in a continuous fashion, you will maintain the aerobic exercise challenge.”

Take Action:
Perform these 12 exercises for 30 seconds each. Work up to doing three sets.

  1. Jumping jacks.
  2.  Wall sit.
  3.  Push-ups.
  4.  Abdominal crunches.
  5.  Chair step-ups.
  6.  Squats.
  7.  Triceps dips.
  8.  Plank.
  9.  High knees.
  10.  Lunges.
  11.  Push-ups with a rotation to each side.
  12.  Side plank (once on left, once on right). Visit http://bit.ly/hpinstitute to find illustrations of each exercise.

3. Get Low

You can work your lower body even if you’ve got a desk job. Rachel Buschert Vaziralli is an American College of Sports Medicine–certified personal trainer who is set to earn her master’s of science in cardiac rehabilitation in December. She has designed a 10-minute lower-body workout specifically for office workers, alternating one minute of heart rate–raising activity with one minute of stretching.
 
Take Action:
Do chair squats: Sit in your no-wheels chair, then stand up using just your lower body’s power. Squat back down until you just touch the seat, then stand up again. Repeat. If that doesn’t feel challenging, do the squats one leg at a time. 1 minute.
* Interlace fingers with arms extended behind your back to stretch your chest. 30 seconds.
* Interlace fingers with arms extended in front of you to stretch your shoulders and upper back. 30 seconds.
Repeat this sequence.

* Step onto a (sturdy, non-rolling) chair, or do knee raises while standing on the floor. 1 minute.
* Reach above your head with your left arm and lean to the right to stretch your side. 30 seconds.
* Reach above your head with your right arm and lean to the left to stretch your other side. 30 seconds.
Repeat this sequence.

*Do calf raises: Stand flat-footed, then lift to your tiptoes several times. 30 seconds.
*Do heel rocks: Stand flat-footed, then lift your toes off the ground several times. 30 seconds.
Repeat this sequence.

4. Reach Higher

So if you’ve worked your lower body while at work, working your upper body is a snap when you get home. Buschert Vaziralli has a workout planned for your arms and abs.

* Circle your arms at your sides in a big, controlled motion—forward for 30 seconds, then backward for 30 seconds.
* Come down to your hands and knees, keeping your back flat. Reach your right arm forward, and, if balance allows, reach your left leg back. Slowly alternate opposite arms and legs. Keep your back still, so that if you rested a cup of water on it, it wouldn’t spill. 1 minute.
* Do push-ups (either traditional or on your knees). 30 seconds.
Repeat this sequence.

* Hold a bridge pose: Lie on your back, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor, and raise your hips off the ground. If that’s too easy, straighten one leg and hold it in the air. 1 minute.

Plank Pose
It's like a push-up position, but resting on your forearms.
Photo credit: Anthony Mayatt/Getty Images

* Hold a plank pose: It’s like a push-up position, but resting on your forearms. 1 minute.
Repeat this sequence.

* Lie flat on your stomach, but lift your arms, legs, and chest off the ground in Superman pose. Hold for 30 seconds.
* Rest back in child’s pose: Kneel, with your forehead on the ground in front of you and arms outstretched. 30 seconds.
Repeat this sequence.

Safety Note

Talk to your doctor before making any big change in your exercise plan.

 
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