Being honest, it really can be challenging to stay on the exercise bandwagon. Life happens, other things become a priority, and before we know it we have not made it outdoors to the park or to the gym in over a month.
This is where I insist to clients they must find their ‘core’!
Someone’s core is their compelling reason for exercising, the thing that gets us out of bed on a cold day to head to the gym, and it’s the thing that makes us put on our exercise shoes after a long, tiring day at work.
While I insist that clients find this, some of us actually have our compelling reason decided for us or because of our past lifestyle choices it is something we now need to manage, for example diabetes. While no one wants a disease or condition, it is often a compelling reason for people to turn to exercise and a healthier lifestyle.
Strength or resistance training is actually critical for diabetes prevention and is an excellent way to improve insulin sensitivity to promote a lean body composition, so that’s a damn compelling reason right there.
There is extensive research that strength training is as effective as aerobic exercise, and could possibly provide significantly greater benefits for preventing diabetes and making sure your insulin is working at its best.
Now before you head off to another column because diabetes is not really a concern for you, it’s likely you can inspire and empower a friend, family member, or loved one who is at risk for diabetes or already has the disease to exercise for a better quality of life and fewer negative symptoms.
The evidence is convincing. Strength or resistance training can:
Improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake
Support heart health
Improve general movement and function
Lower depression in diabetics
So what works best? My 3 top tips for choosing exercise for 10% effort and 90% result:
1. Choose exercises where you focus on quality not quantity
This means options that focus on weight rather than the number of times you perform them.
A press up is a good example. You may start out on the floor on your knees and only bend your elbows half way while you build up your strength. You can then start to go deeper until you can perform full press ups on your knees. You can then go back to only bending your elbows half way but come up off your knees and try them on your toes.
Again, quality and slow, controlled movement over quantity, so aim for 8-12 repetitions before moving on to the next phase of the exercise.
2. Move Often – every little minute can count
If this is a little too much for you to begin with, even a bit of extra housecleaning or a walk to the shops instead of driving can help.
Even though this more moderate form of activity won’t have a dramatic fat loss effect, it will support insulin health throughout the day which is key to helping to manage diabetes.
Avoid being sedentary as much as possible because lack of movement, even if just for a few hours, has the opposite effect – lowering your metabolism, glucose tolerance, and fat burning.
3. Bang for your Buck Exercises
These are a great option as you get a lot of work completed in a short amount of time and it is easy to use your body weight as resistance.
Just like the press up described above, exercises that load the body and make it work harder due to increased weight are very effective for fat loss, insulin health, and elevating mood.
You could try squats, step ups, walking lunges, even walking up your stairs with a vacuum cleaner could be considered a bang for your buck resistance exercise. Use what you have at hand – that way you’ll be more likely to include it in your day.
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