Let’s Get Func­tional

Diabetic Living (USA) - - Contents - CREATED BY MICHAEL LYNCH, M.S., RDN, CDE, ACSM-RCEP

A pillow and 10 min­utes are all you need to build strength

Be­ing ac­tive is at the core of man­ag­ing di­a­betes. But first, we must be able to move—and en­joy mov­ing! And that’s where func­tional fit­ness comes in: These ex­er­cises mimic ev­ery­day move­ments to build strength, stam­ina, and bal­ance for re­al­world ac­tiv­i­ties you en­joy. And they pro­mote sta­bil­ity to pre­vent in­juries, so you can feel good and in­cor­po­rate more move­ment into your life (some­thing all of us could use). Best of all, this rou­tine takes just 10 min­utes and uses or­di­nary house­hold items—no gym re­quired.

the goal

Aim to do this func­tional-fit­ness rou­tine three to four times per week. These move­ments are a lot like walk­ing—they ac­ti­vate and tone mus­cles, but do not leave them ex­hausted—so you can do them on most, if not all, days of the week. Re­mem­ber, if you have just 10 min­utes, you can fit it into your day.

your game plan


Wear com­fort­able clothes and shoes, and clear your floor area. Grab a sturdy chair, a pillow, and a timer or a stop­watch. (Keep­ing an eye on a clock with a sec­ond hand also works.)


Start your timer and keep it run­ning as you move through this work­out. For each ex­er­cise, do the move­ment as many times as you can in the time al­lot­ted. For moves 3 and 4, hold the po­si­tion for as long as you com­fort­ably can un­til time’s up. Keep in mind: more is not al­ways bet­ter! Fo­cus on the qual­ity of each move­ment and on mov­ing through the full range of mo­tion as best you can. Need a break? Take a few breaths and see if you can do a few more reps or hold the po­si­tion for a lit­tle bit longer un­til time’s up.

Af­ter each ex­er­cise, rest for 15 sec­onds be­fore mov­ing on to the next one.

1. Chair squats


Hold a pillow to your chest and stand in front of a chair as if you were about to sit down. Place your feet slightly wider than shoul­der-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly out­ward, and en­gage your core (as if brac­ing for im­pact) (A). Keep­ing your eyes for­ward and your chest up, push your hips back and down un­til you feel your­self at the chair’s edge (B). With­out sit­ting, drive through your heels to push back up to stand­ing (A).

Make it harder: Trade the pillow for a 5-lb. weight.

2. Shoul­der cir­cles 45 sec­onds

Stand tall and, keep­ing your arms slightly bent, hold the pillow straight out in front of you, at eye level (A). Keep your arms straight and cir­cle them to the left and down, drop­ping the pillow below your belly but­ton (B). Bring your arms around to the right and back to the top to com­plete one full cir­cle. Pause at the top (A) and change di­rec­tions,tions, per­form­ing one full cir­cle start­ing to the right. Con­tinue al­ter­nat­ing sides.

Make it harder: Trade the pillow

for a 3-lb. weight.

3. Plank


Stand in front of a chair fac­ing the seat. Lean for­ward and choose a com­fort­able po­si­tion for your hands, with your palms ei­ther on the seat or wrapped around the edges for greater se­cu­rity (as shown). En­gage your core to pro­tect your low

back and gen­tly walk your feet out to cre­ate a straight line from your head to your heels (A). Hold here.

5. Chair pushups


Place a chair against a wall, fac­ing away from you. Place your hands shoul­der-width apart on the chair back. Point your el­bows out and bend them slightly. En­gage your core and walk your feet out to plank po­si­tion, cre­at­ing a straight line from your head to your heels (A). (If you are not com­fort­able with your feet this far back, move them closer to­ward the chair.) Keep your body in a flat line as you bend at the el­bows and lower about half­way down (B). Press back up to start (A).

4. Sin­gle-leg bal­ance


Stand next to a chair with your in­side hand rest­ing gen­tly on the chair back. En­gage your core, plant your out­side foot firmly on the floor, and lift your in­side foot be­hind you (A). Hold here.

Pro­tect your wrists when do­ing planks and pushups by fo­cus­ing your weight and strength into your shoul­ders and upper arms.

6. Side leg lifts


Stand next to a chair with your in­side hand rest­ing gen­tly on the chair back. Grip a pillow in your out­side hand and ex­tend that arm out to the side (A). En­gage your core, plant your in­side foot firmly on the floor, and lift your out­side leg out to the side un­til it is un­der the pillow (B). Lower your out­side leg, just graz­ing the floor.

7. Knee raises


Stand with your feet shoul­der-width apart and point your toes out slightly for bal­ance. Hold the pillow straight out in front of your chest with your arms slightly bent (A). With con­trol, lift your right knee un­til it makes con­tact with the pillow (B), then lower back down to the start po­si­tion (A). Al­ter­nate rais­ing your right and left knee.

8. Hip raises


Stand next to a chair with your in­side hand rest­ing gen­tly on the chair back and your other hand on your hip. Bend your in­side knee to bring that foot be­hind you. Keep­ing your torso up­right and core en­gaged, gen­tly lower your in­side hip 2 to 3 inches (A). While keep­ing your out­side hip still, use the glute (butt) mus­cles of your out­side leg to lift your in­side hip up slightly higher than your start­ing po­si­tion (B). Lower back down.

Need more of a chal­lenge?Try the “make it harder” moves, do the cir­cuit two or more times, or add a weight that is rea­son­able for you. For a realweight, save an empty milk con­tainer and add wa­ter. One full gal­lon of wa­ter is 8 lbs., and a half-gal­lon is 4 lbs.freeABBA

Lower more deeply into the pushup, stop­ping when your el­bows are at a 90-de­gree an­gle. Or do this move with your hands on the seat of the chair.

Bend el­bows half­way downMake it harder:BA

Al­ter­nate lift­ing each leg off the ground, with heels reach­ing to­ward the ceil­ing.

Make it harder:A

Try plac­ing just one or two fin­gers on the chair for bal­ance, lift­ing your hand off the chair for a few sec­onds, or tak­ing your hand off the chair com­pletely.

AMake it harder:

BMake it harder: Slow down each raise or hold your knee at the top for three Mis­sis­sip­pi­counts be­fore low­er­ing.AABMake it harder: Hold your lifted hip at the top for three Mis­sis­sip­pi­counts be­fore slowly low­er­ing.AMake it harder:B

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