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Step 3: Become Even More Fit (Part 8)

Dr. Sheri Colberg has spent the last few weeks helping us learn how to maximize or physical activity for optimal results. This week she helps us put it all together in Sample Workouts to Put It All Together


Step 3: Become Even More Fit (Part 8)
Sample Workouts to Put It All Together

By Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM

Sheri_ColbergNo single routine or weekly workout plan will work for everyone, but a few examples follow. Use them as a starting point to help you individualize your own program of increased exercise, depending on your preferred physical activities. The exercise times recommended in the following plan can be decreased to 5 to 10 minutes at a time when you are just starting, and the days and types of activities can be varied accordingly. Some examples of variations are slow walking, brisk walking, cycling (outdoor or stationary), and swimming and other aquatic activities, just to name a few.

Remember, too, that at least one day of rest a week from your structured exercise plan–or at least a day when you do a different activity at a lower intensity–is optimal for muscle repair and will also result in fitness and strength gains, prevention of overuse injuries and overtraining, and sustainable motivation. For example, if you walk almost daily, your day of rest could include a completely different activity, like swimming or aqua aerobics. Feel free to actively engage in unstructured physical activity on your rest day.

Sample Structured Exercise Plan
Monday:
•     Moderate aerobic exercise (your choice) for 30 to 60 minutes, possibly done as two separate bouts of exercise (or two different activities)
Tuesday:
•     Resistance training, plus stretching and unstructured activities
Wednesday:
•     Moderate aerobic exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, with intermittent bouts of higher intensity work interspersed at frequent intervals (“hard” day), plus some stretching
Thursday:
•     Easy aerobic exercise or unstructured activities for 45 to 60 minutes (“easy” day)
Friday:
•     Resistance training, plus stretching and unstructured activities
Saturday:
•     Mild to moderate aerobic exercise for 45 to 75 minutes (“LSD” day)
Sunday:
•     Rest day (unstructured activities only)

Find time for more unstructured exercise, too

If you just can’t find the time or the motivation to exercise at specific times and your preference is to simply add in more movement every day in an unstructured way, then the following plan is for you. Be creative and think of other activities that are more applicable to your lifestyle than the examples given, and make a conscious effort to incorporate them on a daily basis. Even if you choose to follow a structured exercise plan, continuing to add in more unstructured physical activity on a daily basis will only make you more fit and enable you to more effectively control your diabetes or prediabetes and your body weight. No matter how you do it, including more movement into each and every day is truly a necessity.

Sample Unstructured Exercise Plan

Weekdays (minimum added physical activity is 45 minutes a day):          
•     Upon awakening–Completely tense whole body and relax 10 times (1 to 2 minutes)
•     Upon rising–Do warm-up exercises 10 times each (e.g., toe touches, side bends, trunk twists, arm circles, neck rolls, knee lifts, calf stretches, jumping jacks (5 minutes)
•     On the way to work or other obligation–Park an extra distance away from your destination and walk, or arrive 5 minutes early and walk back and forth (5 minutes)
•     During work–Stand on your feet instead of sitting down whenever possible
•     After work–Upon arrival home, walk around the house five extra times before entering; if weather is inclement, walk the equivalent distance inside (5 minutes)
•     At home–Walk around for 5 minutes after every 15 to 20 minutes of a sedentary activity (and/or go up and down stairs) (5 to 15 minutes)
•     Before dinner–Set the dinner table, fill up drink glasses, or fix dinner (5 to 30 minutes)
•     After dinner–Clear the table and do dishes by hand (or load dishwasher) (5 to 10 minutes)
•     During evening leisure time–Walk in place or around during every TV commercial; if using a computer or reading, do the same for 5 minutes out of every 30 (10 to 30 minutes)
•     Before bedtime–Rise and lower on balls of feet while brushing your teeth; raise and lower your elbows while flossing (4 to 5 minutes)

Weekends (minimum added physical activity is 120 minutes daily):
•     Upon awakening–Completely tense whole body and relax 10 times (1 minute)
•     Upon rising–Do warm-up exercises 10 times each (e.g., toe touches, side bends, trunk twists, arm circles, neck rolls, knee lifts, calf stretches, jumping jacks (5 minutes)
•     During morning time–Walk around or in place during every TV commercial if watching; if doing another sedentary activity, do the same for 5 minutes out of every half hour; also stand instead of sitting down whenever possible (20 to 30 minutes)
•     Before lunch–Take yourself and (possibly) the dog out for a walk (30 minutes)
•     After lunch–Go (window) shopping; park farther away on purpose, take the stairs, walk on escalators, etc. Alternately, go to the park, go for another walk, go for a bike ride, or do some gardening or yard work (40 to 60+ minutes)
•     Before dinner–Do household or other chores, such as vacuuming, sweeping, or cleaning up around the house (5 minutes)
•     After dinner–Turn on the stereo and dance or move during your favorite song (5 minutes)
•     During evening leisure time–Walk around or in place during every TV commercial; if using a computer or reading, do the same for 5 minutes out of every 30; also stand instead of sitting down whenever possible (10 to 20 minutes)
•     Before bedtime–Rise and lower on balls of feet while brushing your teeth; raise and lower your elbows while flossing (4 to 5 minutes)
                                                                                                                                               

In two weeks, I will share more tips and ideas from my latest book, The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan: Living Well and Being Fit with Diabetes, No Matter Your Weight (2006).  Information about all of my books, my many articles, my research, and more is available on my web site: www.SheriColberg.com

Tip for the day:  
Taking a break from your structured exercise routine one day a week will help prevent overuse injuries, but include unstructured activities every day of the week for better blood glucose control.