Though you are sure to find people with diabetes working out in a gym or health club, many instead prefer the greater sense of safety they feel while working out in the comfort of their own homes.
Here, they are they are better equipped to deal with hypoglycemic episodes or unexpected blood sugar spikes.
However, there are some downsides to working out at home. One could easily point to the lack of fitness equipment, but as you’ll see later in this article, that is actually an easy hurdle to overcome.
The bigger barriers to contend with are boredom and distraction. You get bored with a routine or you become distracted by clothes that need washing, errands that need to be done, or the lure of your favorite television show. Fortunately, there are ways around both of these issues.
And best of all, none of the solutions require you to jettison your new TV. That’s because this at-home exercise program will center on cardiovascular health, basic muscle toning, and — here comes the fun part watching that TV!
Tuning In To Your Workout
To complete this workout, you will need to focus on the ABCs. And, the NBCs and CBSs, too. Your workout will be based on the primetime schedule of shows that appear on the top television networks. You’ll work out three times this week, which also means that you’ll be watching three separate TV shows.
But, unlike most times you watch the tube, you’ll be burning calories while working out. Of course, before engaging in an exercise program of any kind, you should always consult with your physician and endocrinologist first.
This workout is based on audio or visual cues that will prompt you to perform a particular exercise.
It can be applied to just about any television show, requiring only that you designate audio or visual cues before the program starts.
Once you hear or see that cue, that is when you get moving. So, not only is this a great way to burn some calories and help regulate blood sugar, but it also serves as the perfect means of catching up on some of your favorite shows. So much for boredom and distraction.
- Home Makeover Shows (ex. Flip and Flop, Fixer Upper, Curb Appeal): Perform 10-15 squats (with or without dumbbells) every time someone says the word clean. Bonus: to really amp-up your workout, use the same cue during commercials.
- Medical Dramas (ex. Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Doctor): Every time you hear one of the characters say a medical term, start walking in place. Continue walking until the next commercial break.
- Crime Dramas (ex. How to Get Away with Murder, FBI, Criminal Minds): Perform 5-10 push-ups every time someone says the word victim. If you find traditional push-ups to be too difficult, you can perform modified push-ups from your knees.
- Sitcoms (ex. Modern Family, American Housewife, I Feel Bad): Do 5-10 standing rows every time a new character enters the scene.
What if You Don’t Watch TV?
Of course, not everyone watches television. Does that mean that your at-home workout needs to be boring? Not at all. There are plenty of methods of burning calories that aren’t the fitness equivalent of watching paint dry.
For starters, your workout can have utility. Remember those household chores mentioned earlier? They burn calories, especially the more physically demanding of those tasks. So, mopping your floor, shoveling the snow from your driveway, raking those leaves from your lawn – they are all forms of at-home exercise.
Getting Fit At Home
Apart from household chores, there are a host of popular gym exercises you can perform at home with little or no fitness equipment. All that’s required is a little ingenuity. To help get you started, here are just a few tips:
- Soup Can Press – Using soup cans in place of dumbbells, you can perform a variety of pressing exercises, including the military press, dumbbell press, and the French press. You can also use soup cans to perform bicep curls and lateral raises. NOTE: Be sure you have a firm grip on the soup cans, as they can slip. Weights and dumbbells are extremely affordable and may be a safer option.
- Chair Dips – Placing your hands behind you and firmly planted on the edge of a chair, slowly lower and raise your body to work your arm and chest muscles.
- Stair Climbs – Find a set of at least five steps and make repeated trips up and down the flight, working the leg muscles and improving cardiovascular health.
- Milk Jug Rows – Fill empty plastic milk jugs with sand, seal with duct tape, and use the bottles to perform a variety of rowing exercises, including the bent-over row, one-arm rows, and upright rows.
- Chair Stands – Start by sitting upright in a chair with your feet about shoulder width apart on the ground. Using your abdominal and leg muscles, take about three whole seconds to stand up, hold for one second, and then take three seconds to return to the seated position.
- Backpack Squats – If you are able to do several squats with more than just your own bodyweight, fill an old backpack with some relatively heavy items and then slip the backpack on. Squat with your feet slightly further than shoulder width apart, keeping your back as straight as possible.
- Milk Crate Bench – Place a long, sturdy plank over two milk crates. For padding, wrap the plank with an old blanket and secure it with rubber bands. This can be used during dumbbell presses and several other resistance training exercises.
- Body-Weight Exercises – Use your own body weight as resistance during such exercises as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and the plank.
Whichever method you choose, be it the TV workout or the at-home version of the more traditional gym workout; don’t let boredom and distraction get in the way of your progress. Even if you can only complete a portion of the exercises, your effort will still pay off with a reduction in weight and better blood sugar management. The key to any workout regimen, whether it involves watching TV or carrying one around over your head, is to stick with it.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD.