Easy 20-minute workouts
Who said getting fit has to be a big project? With these five 20-minute workouts, you’ll be on your way to getting active in minutes! Daniel Sher shows us how.
Let’s be honest: most of us have a lot of things on our To Do Lists, and exercising is not the one we want to do most! Our busy lifestyles often get in the way of our health, but how hard is it, really, to get active? Exercising can be easier than you think – there’s no need to run marathons or spend hours at the gym. In fact, a recent study showed that just twenty minutes of daily exercise is enough to lose weight and control your diabetes better. Here are five simple ways to get active that only take twenty minutes to complete. We all have twenty minutes every day for a 20-minute workout… Why not use them to feel great?
- Before (or after!) work
It might be a part of everyday life, but walking is also a great way to exercise. Taking a walk is a simple and relaxing way to get your heart rate up. Beaches, forests, parks and rivers are all great for a refreshing twenty minute walk, but a quick stroll through your neighbourhood can be just as enjoyable. Choose a time for your daily walk – twenty minutes before work, for example – and try to do this every day. Walk quickly and keep things interesting by changing which way you go from time to time. Join up with a few friends and it will make your walk even more fun.
- On your way to work
Most people sit in a taxi, bus or car to get to work. Could you fit in a 20-minute workout? Believe it or not, this is a great opportunity to get some exercise! If you live close to your workplace, choose to walk, jog or cycle instead. And if your home is too far away, get out of the taxi a few stops early, or park further away than usual. Using your morning commute to exercise can help you save time, and also make you feel refreshed for the day ahead. Choosing to walk home (or part of the way home) after work can help to burn away the day’s stress and clear your mind.
- In the office
Quiet times at work are ideal for a quick workout: you can do an easy muscle-toning routine while sitting at your desk. Start by tightening your three main muscle groups, one at a time (legs, stomach and arms). Begin with a deep breath and clench your legs for five seconds; then take a breather for ten seconds before tightening up your stomach muscles for five seconds. Take another breather, and finish by clenching your arms and chest, which you tighten by pressing your palms together as if you’re praying. Repeat this routine until twenty minutes are up for a quick and easy muscle workout!
- At home
We all make excuses to stay inside: it might be raining, you might have a lot of chores to do, or the TV might be calling your name. Don’t let this stop you from getting your twenty minutes of exercise – you can easily transform your household routines into a workout.
When you’re talking on the phone, pace around the house or climb up and down stairs, rather than sitting down. What about your errands? Sweeping, mopping, scrubbing and washing can give you a great workout and a clean house at the same time. Feel like watching your favourite TV show? No problem – use this time to jog lightly on the spot, whilst gently punching your arms in front of you like you’re boxing. Just be sure to pull the curtains so your neighbours don’t think you’re crazy!
- On the weekend
If you’re looking for a simple way to exercise and to have fun at the same time, dancing might be the answer. And what better time to dance than on the weekend? Listen to your favourite playlist, focus on letting loose and try to enjoy yourself – before you know it you’ll have worked up a sweat. If you know any ballroom steps ask a partner to join you for twenty minutes – fast-paced dances like the swing, salsa or tango are all great for increasing your heart rate. If you don’t know any dance moves, make up your own! Nobody’s watching…
Making time for 20-minute workouts
How does exercise help diabetes? Exercise is recommended for most people, but an active lifestyle is especially helpful for diabetics. Why? Exercise can:
- Help your body to use insulin better.
- Prevent cardiovascular (heart) disease and other diabetes-related complications.
- Reduce stress and anxiety, which makes it easier to manage your condition.
- Improve your blood sugar control.
These 20-minute workouts are not only fun, but easy to fit into any schedule. Let us know what exercise you fit in on Diabetic South Africans.
What to read next?
Exercise at work: For those days when you can’t even find 20 minutes, here are some ways to keep fit even while you’re working.
Diabetes and exercise: a video: We gathered all your questions from Diabetic South Africans, and asked fitness expert Nicholas Caracandas to answer them. Take a look!