Easy Exercises to Improve Your Blood Sugar

These easy moves take just minutes a day and your body will become more sensitive to insulin, which helps the hormone do its job better.

Lisa Robins

Resistance exercises like these don’t just build up your muscles, they also make your body better able to regulate blood sugar. Another bonus? They help build bone, and that’s key since people with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk for osteoporosis, while those with type 2 are more prone to fractures. So go ahead and give ‘em a try!

Boost your thighs

  • Safely stand tall on top of a step or platform. While focusing on balance and lower body coordination, step to the floor with your right leg.
  • Exhale and lift the lowered leg back to the starting position. Complete three sets of 12-15 repetitions per leg.

Trainer tip: Step work boosts bone density, especially when stepping downward and purposefully striking your feet on the ground. Note: If you have diabetic neuropathy, use caution with any exercise involving the feet.

Strengthen your spine and glutes

  • Lie face down on an exercise mat or couch with your arms spread out in front of you, palms down and legs straight.
  • Exhale and gently raise your legs toward the ceiling while you squeeze the back of your legs and lower back.
  • Pause at the top for three seconds and slowly return your legs to the starting position. Complete three sets of 12-15 repetitions.

Trainer tip: To increase the range of motion here, calves and ankles should hang off the end of a couch or bench and/or raise both arms toward the ceiling as you simultaneously raise both your legs.

Power up your lower body

  • Stand tall in front of a stable chair or bench with your heels hip-width apart, abs pulled in tight, arms crossed at chest level.
  • Slowly bend your knees and lower your body until you are in a seated position.
  • Exhale and stand, engaging your legs by pushing your heels firmly into the floor. Complete three or four sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Trainer tip: Too easy? Step farther away from the bench, chair or couch to increase your range of motion.

Strengthen your hips

  • Stand tall with your heels hip-width apart.
  • While balancing on your left foot and maintaining fluidity throughout the range of motion, slowly lift your straightened right leg as high as you can.
  • Lower and repeat three sets of 12-15 reps per leg.

Balance bonus! Standing hip abductions, such as these, are not only effective in strengthening your hip flexors, but also improve your balance and coordination, helping prevent fractures caused by slips and falls.

April 2013