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14 Ways to Get More Exercise into Your Day

When you're following a diabetes meal plan, keep yourself moving and your fitness goals on track with these smart, speedy strategies to burn calories, tone muscle, and invigorate your busy lifestyle.
  • Easy Ways to Get Moving

    Don't let a hectic schedule sideline your workout plans. Exercise, even in small doses, does a body good. The goal is to get you moving for a total of 30 minutes each day. Choose exercises from the following list -- you can mix and match them any way you wish to add up to 30 minutes per day.

    What's your exercise personality? Take our quiz and find out.

  • 5 Minutes of Yoga

    Try these yoga poses to improve your balance and strength. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat each pose five times.

    Warrior Two (shown at left)
    Start with feet together, then step one leg back into a lunge. The front leg is bent while the back leg is straight. Press your back heel down and turn your back foot to a 45-degree angle. While keeping your abs tight, lift your torso up, extend each arm to shoulder height, and look out over your front hand. Keep your palms open toward the floor.

    Chair Pose
    Stand with feet hip-width apart. Raise arms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale and sit back, as if into a chair. Keep your weight over your ankles as your chest moves forward.

    Warrior One
    Start with feet together, then step one leg back into a lunge. The front leg is bent while the back leg is straight. Press your back heel down. Lift your torso up and your arms above your head.

  • 15-Minute Walking, Strength, and Stretching Routine

    This three-step routine can burn up to 100 calories!

    1. Walk or climb stairs for 7-10 minutes.

    2. Chair-sit by standing up and sitting back down into your chair (use your arm rest to help you stand up and sit down if you need it). Perform 12-15 repetitions. (shown at left)

    3. Stretch by holding onto a table or desktop for support and bend at the hips, pushing your buttocks back toward the wall behind you. Hold for 10 seconds.

  • Walk When You Can

    Walking is the gold standard of fitness because it's safe, it uses more than 200 muscles, and anyone can do it. Plan a walking time in your schedule and stick to it. Aim to walk for 30 minutes each day. Start with a 3-5 minute warm-up, and increase your speed until you feel you're walking briskly. If you haven't been active lately, start with 10-15 minutes and add 2-3 minutes per session each week. End each session with a 3-5 minute cooldown of slow walking. In 30 minutes, you burn about 150 calories.

  • Stretch on the Go

    Increase shoulder flexibility by reaching one hand behind your head to the center of your upper back. With the other hand, reach behind and try to touch your opposite fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and switch. Tip: If you have difficulty touching your fingertips together, hold a sock or rolled newspaper in your top hand and grab one end of it with your lower hand.

    Stretch your lower back by turning your torso while sitting in a chair. Grab the side of the chair with both hands. Take a deep breath as you look over your shoulder. Twist as far as you can, then try it on the other side.

  • Exercise Anywhere in the House

    This push-up strengthens the chest and triceps. Stand a little more than arm length from a kitchen counter or sturdy surface and place your hands on the edge of the countertop, shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower your torso, then extend your arms by pushing up and away. Keep your body straight from head to heels. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions.

    While cooking at the stove, stand on one leg and raise your heel off the floor; hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions and repeat on the other leg.

  • Get More Out of Taking the Stairs

    Instead of walking casually up the stairs, gradually increase your speed and the number of stairs you can take in 1 minute. Take two steps at once if you can do it safely.

  • Anytime, Anywhere Strength Builders

    Try plie squats when talking on the phone, watching TV, working, or making dinner. Stand with your feet in a V -- your heels together and toes apart. Tuck your hips in and lower your body down until your knees are just in front of your toes. Squeeze your inner thighs as you rise up. Do 20 repetitions.

    You can also have a walking meeting with a colleague on the phone or in person, burning 60 extra calories an hour -- one-and-a-half times more calories than you'd burn sitting.

  • 10-Minute Jump-Rope Workout

    Burning more than 100 calories in 10 minutes, jumping rope is an excellent cardio workout. It slims your hips and thighs, promotes balance and coordination, and decreases your risk for osteoporosis.

    Minute 1: Jump in place to warm up (no rope).
    Minutes 2-4: Jump with a slight bounce between each rope jump.
    Minutes 5-7: Alternate feet (as if you were running in place).
    Minutes 7-9: Slalom jump (keeping feet together, jump a few inches to the right and then to the left as if jumping moguls).
    Minutes 9-10: Jump in place to cool down (no rope).

  • 10-Minute Strength Exercises with Cardio Bursts

    Do this cardio sculpting routine and burn 8 calories per minute.
    2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform.
    2 minutes: Stand with your back against the wall, sitting down until your knees are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold 30 seconds and repeat.
    2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform.
    2 minutes: From a modified push-up position (on your knees), place your hands shoulder-width apart, head in line with your spine and back straight. Lower your chest to the ground, push up, and repeat.
    2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform.

  • Increase Your Flexibility

    Instead of hunching your back and bending forward from the waist, lengthen your spine and bend forward from the hips. With a straight back, lean forward as far as you can without rounding your back. Hold 10 seconds and repeat three times.

    Get on all fours and do the cat and cow. With your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread and knees under your hips, round your back up to the ceiling, drawing your navel in (cat). Then arch your back, open your throat, and lift your chin as high as you can without stressing your neck (cow). Inhale during cat, and exhale during cow. Repeat five times.

  • Tone with Simple Pilates Moves

    The following Pilates moves can be done quickly and efficiently at home, in a gym, and while you travel.

    Knee Lift: With hips level, bring your right leg up and balance. Hold 10 seconds and repeat on the other side. (shown at left)
    Roll Down: Bring chin to chest, slowly rolling down, one vertebra at a time, with your hands hanging down. Slightly bend knees and slowly roll up. Repeat four times.
    Footwork: With feet parallel, rise up on the balls of your feet; stretch your heels down to the floor and up again. Repeat several times.

  • Get In the Water

    Make time in your schedule to head to a pool. Planning ahead will make you more inclined to follow through. And once you hop in the water, exercising is easy to do -- it's effective and low-impact. The easy feeling you get comes from the water's natural buoyancy, which gently lifts the body up, taking stress off the joints. Resistance is up to 12 times greater than that on land, and the hydrostatic pressure naturally reduces swelling and takes a load off the heart. Get in and walk, jog, lift your knees, do jumping jacks, or cross-country ski. You can burn up to 200 calories in just 30 minutes of continuous activity. Nonswimmers are welcome!

  • Seated Stretches

    These three Pilates-inspired stretches can be done discreetly at your desk or while you're watching TV. Flexibility will help you reduce stress and stay fit and injury-free.

    Seated Swan: Press your hands into your thighs and lift your head to lengthen and arch your upper back. Repeat several times. (shown at left)

    Shoulder Shrug and Roll: Lift both shoulders toward your ears; roll your shoulders back and down. Reverse. Repeat three to five times.

    Figure Four Stretch: Seated with your right ankle on your left knee, hinge forward at your hips with your back flat. Switch sides.

  • Tone Your Tummy while Checking E-mail

    Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair while you're at your desk or using your laptop at home can give you an easy tummy workout without leaving your abs sore. When on the ball, your body constantly makes small adjustments to your posture and works your back, abdominal, glute, and leg muscles.

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