Fitness Articles

Diabetes Weight-Loss Workout Plan

An 8-Week, Easy-to-Follow Plan for Beginners

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Regular exercise has long been proven to help people with diabetes reduce their risk of future complications and manage their blood sugar levels. A recent study published in the Nov. 24, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when people with type 2 diabetes did aerobic (cardio) exercise some days and resistance training on others, they had lower blood sugar levels after nine months than people who did either type of exercise alone. That's news to researchers who long believed that aerobic exercise alone was the best way to manage blood sugar.

According to Dr. Ronald Sigal, professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and author of an editorial that accompanied the published study, "Someone who wants to maximize the impact on glucose control and maximize the use of their time should do both aerobic and resistance exercise." He told HealthDay news that, "Even a relatively small amount of resistance exercise--one set twice a week for about 20 minutes--makes a difference."

If you're new to fitness or just want to renew your commitment to exercise and weight loss, SparkPeople's 8-Week Diabetes Weight Loss Challenge is for you! I created this workout plan for people of all fitness levels. It involves a proven combination of cardio exercise and strength training to rev your metabolism to help you manage your weight.  Another plus is that every workout can be tailored to your own fitness level, and you also get to pick activities that you enjoy.

How it Works
  • Do one toning video any 3 days per week. Each video will only take you 15-20 minutes to complete, and will work your body from head to toe. We start off with a video that doesn't require any equipment, and then change up the videos every two weeks using resistance bands, a stability ball and dumbbells. If you don't have the equipment, don’t' worry. An "alternative" (see chart) equipment-free workout is offered each week.
     
  • Do 3-5 cardio sessions per week. This program will gradually progress you from three 10-minute cardio workouts per week to five 20-minute sessions. You decide what to do and how intensely you want to work! You can dance, walk, bike, run, jump rope, swim, use a cardio machine (like the elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bike), take a fitness class or try a DVD—anything that gets your heart pumping! The more variety, the better! If you're new to exercise, aim for 5-10 minutes (or as close to that as you can manage, gradually increasing over time). If you've been at it a while, go longer—up to 60 minutes per session—if that suits your fitness level. Click any of the links above for full workout ideas.
     
  • Follow the plan for 8 weeks. This a great introduction to exercise if you're just starting out, since the videos make strength training easy with detailed instructions on form. But even if you're an avid exerciser, following this plan for a few weeks can add variety to your current program, which can help you bust a plateau and continue seeing results.
     
  • Get support and extra tips. Join our Challenge Team and you'll get weekly emails reminding you of your workouts, along with bonus food and weight-loss tips created for people with diabetes. Plus, you'll get support and encouragement from others following the plan with you!
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

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