Exercise is an important part of every type 2 diabetes management plan. Fortunately, it’s not impossible for you to include exercise as part of your diabetes management without leaving home. Here's how to create a home-based diabetes fitness plan that doesn't require a gym membership, fancy workout clothes, or expensive equipment.
The ADA recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. If you have trouble fitting in 30 minutes of exercise at a time, consider breaking it up into 10 minute segments.
Your best bet for using exercise to help manage type 2 diabetes is to combine aerobic exercise with strength training. Aim to do strength training exercises at least two days a week, in addition to your aerobic activity. Both aerobic and strength exercises can safely and effectively be incorporated into your at-home workouts.
Getting Started with At-Home Workouts for Type 2 Diabetes
Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. If you're new to working out, start slowly. Check your blood sugar before, during, and after exercise (especially if you’re trying something new) in order to determine how it impacts your blood sugar levels. Keep a snack nearby in case your blood sugar drops.
Here's how to build a basic home-based routine for a workout of 25 to 30 minutes:
Warm up for five minutes. Try low-intensity dance moves, just to get started.
Start moving. Add in movements like bicep curls, rowing movements with your arms, and marching in place, again for about five minutes.
Pick up the pace. For the next five minutes, try running in place, or jumping jacks. If you need a low-impact version of jumping jacks, try holding onto the back of a sturdy chair while you jump your feet in and out.
Go fast. For about two minutes, run in place. Skip this for the first few weeks if you are new to exercise.
Slow down. Go back to running in place at a medium pace for five minutes.
Switch to strength training. Try 20 wall push-ups, 20 seated mock rowing exercises using stretchy bands around your feet, or 20 half squats (using a chair if you need support as you squat). You can also use free weights, canned goods, or full water bottles to do bicep curls and other weight-training exercises.
Stretch. Do two stretches for your upper body and two for your lower. The key to sticking to your home exercise plan is to make your workouts fun and appealing. To keep things interesting, you can:
Make a music playlist. A high-energy playlist of your favorite songs can give you the motivation you need to get through your workout.
Tune in to work out. Exercise while you watch your favorite TV show, or sneak in some squats, sit-ups, or bicep curls during commercial breaks.
Mix it up. Alternate movements each day to avoid boredom.
Walk a dog. Walking is a great exercise for people with type 2 diabetes. It can help you control blood sugar levels, manage your weight, and lower your risk of heart disease. And it helps dogs stay healthy, too! Walk your own dog or borrow a friend’s.
Garden. Yard work is a very good, moderate-level workout mixed with some strength training.
Create a home gym. If your budget allows, consider purchasing exercise equipment like free weights and resistance bands, or even a treadmill, stationary cycle, or elliptical trainer to work into your routine.