Staying Fit and Flexible

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Staying Fit and Flexible

Exercise helps control your blood sugar by pulling glucose into your muscles for energy while you work out. There are different types of exercises that work out your heart (aerobic) and your muscles (anaerobic). Stretching for flexibility is also important because flexibility increases blood flow and lowers your risk for getting injured. Try out these basic exercises to maintain muscle strength, improve your flexibility and work out your heart (depending on how high you get your heart rate up).

Warm Up for 10 minutes with anaerobic exercise. March in place, walk, ride a bicycle or walk stairs. Try to keep your heart rate around 50-70% of your max heart rate. You can increase this time as you build endurance.

Arm Raises. Standing up with your arms at your sides, slowly raise your arms up to shoulder level with your palms facing the ground. Slowly lower your arms back to your sides and then repeat for 12 repetitions. Take a break, and then do 12 more. (Modification: 1. Hold hand weights or soup cans for more resistance. 2. Raise your arms in different directions—to the side, directly in front or diagonally).

Body Weight Squat. Squat down like you are sitting in a chair as low as you feel comfortable. (You can actually sit in a chair if you need to). Keep your knees from bending in front of your toes and try not to let your shoulders fall forward. Stand back up and continue for 12 repetitions. Take a break, and then do 12 more squats.

Shoulder Press. Standing up, holding hand weights or soup cans, push your arms up over your head and then lower them back down so your hands are level with your shoulders. Continue to push up and down for 12 repetitions. Take a break, and then, you guessed it, do 12 more.

Push Ups. Do 12 push ups, take a break and then do 12 more. (Modifications: 1. Keep your knees on the ground while pushing up. 2. Place your hands on a wall with your feet about three feet away from the wall so your body is diagonal to the wall. Push away from the wall, keeping your feet in the same spot).

Bent Over Row. Bend at the waist about 45 degrees and place one hand on a table or chair. Hold a hand weight or soup can in the other hand and slowly pull your arm backwards like you are pulling something to your hip. Push your arm back out straight, and then pull it in again using the back of your shoulder. Repeat this exercise 12 times for each arm. Take a break, and then do another 12 more (for each arm)!

Jumping Jacks. Do 12 jumping jacks, take a break, and then do 12 more.

Cool Down with Stretching. Take some time to bring your heart rate down while stretching the major muscle groups in your body. Start by rotating your neck, roll your shoulders backwards, and gently swing your arms back, forward and to the sides. Prop up one leg at a time on a chair and slowly bend at the waist towards your toes to stretch each hamstring. Then, split your legs with one foot two feet in front of the other. Lean back slightly and stretch your hip, then switch the other leg in front and stretch the other hip. While lying on your side, pull one leg back and up to stretch your quadricep. Then, switch to the other leg and stretch the other quad.