Good diabetes care requires regular exercise. Being active can help you reduce and manage your diabetes symptoms. Exercise also burns calories, helping you lose excess weight—and that’s good for diabetes control too.
But your starting point will be different from other people, and sometimes, getting moving can be difficult. If you're having trouble getting started with an exercise plan, isometric exercise can be a great way to get the physical activity you need without overexerting yourself.
What is isometric exercise?
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, isometric exercises build strength and endurance with limited movement. Sound too good to be true? It's not! Many people do isometric training when they are at work with a few moves that can easily be done in business attire.
Here are a few examples of isometric exercises to help you improve your health:
1. Chest press/pull
Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Raise your forearms to shoulder height and interlock your fingers together. Press your hands together with continued force. You'll feel this in your shoulders and forearms. You can also do a similar exercise by pulling your hands apart instead of pushing them together.
For an extended version of the above exercise, hold your arms out in front of you at a 90-degree angle with the ground. Now push or pull your hands. This will work different muscle groups, and is easy to do even when you're sitting down.
If you ever played high school sports, you have likely done this move before. Place your feet wider than shoulder-width apart as you stand two feet away from a wall. Face away from the wall and lean backward. Slide your back down flat against the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles. You can now cross your arms over your chest or work your arm muscles by holding them straight out, parallel with your knees and the floor. Hold this pose for up to 10 seconds and then stand up again. Repeat this process for four to five sets.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with high blood pressure, heart disease, or neuropathy should be careful about undertaking strenuous physical activities.
Dr. Ping H. Wang told Everyday Health that individuals with type 2 diabetes should have their physician perform a stress test before changing their exercise routine. This way, your doctor can monitor how exercise affects you and adjust your medicine or insulin use if necessary.
Wang also mentioned that people with diabetes should avoid strenuous activity when sick or if their blood sugar is elevated, as this can worsen diabetes symptoms. Wait until you are feeling better and your blood glucose levels improve before working out.