Some Healthy Exercises to Relieve Stress

Living with diabetes can have its ups and downs, and that is perfectly normal! It is important how we cope with stress when our lives become particularly hectic, and develop healthy mechanisms for stress relief. This is especially important for those living with diabetes, because stress eating is not exactly conducive to maintaining the lifestyle our doctors recommend. Taking up a sport or an active hobby is heavily encouraged. Some examples of creative ways to pack in exercise are dancing, ice skating, bicycling, or kayaking. Here are some small things you can do for yourself that are minimally invasive to your life:

  1. Try pile squats when talking on the phone, watching TV, working, or making dinner. Stand with your feet in a V -- your heels together and toes apart. Tuck your hips in and lower your body down until your knees are just in front of your toes. Squeeze your inner thighs as you rise up. Do 15-30 repetitions depending on what you feel is not pushing yourself too hard.
  2. Instead of walking casually up the stairs, gradually increase your speed and the number of stairs you can take in 1 minute.
  3. Do push-ups against any sturdy furniture around the house. This push-up strengthens the chest and triceps. Stand a little more than arm length from a kitchen counter or sturdy surface and place your hands on the edge of the countertop, shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower your torso, then extend your arms by pushing up and away. Keep your body straight from head to heels. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions.
  4. While cooking at the stove, stand on one leg and raise your heel off the floor; hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions and repeat on the other leg.
  5. Stretch while sitting down watching TV or doing work at a computer. Increase shoulder flexibility by reaching one hand behind your head to the center of your upper back. With the other hand, reach behind and try to touch your opposite fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and switch. If you can’t reach your hands together try holding something between them like a cooking utensil or clean washcloth.
  6. Stretch your lower back by turning your torso while sitting in a chair. Grab the side of the chair with both hands. Take a deep breath as you look over your shoulder. Twist as far as you can, then try it on the other side.
  7. Try some easy and simple Pilates moves
    • Knee Lift:With hips level, bring your right leg up and balance. Hold 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
    • Roll Down:Bring chin to chest, slowly rolling down, one vertebra at a time, with your hands hanging down. Slightly bend knees and slowly roll up. Repeat four times.
    • Footwork:With feet parallel, rise up on the balls of your feet; stretch your heels down to the floor and up again. Repeat several times.
    • Seated Swan:Press your hands into your thighs and lift your head to lengthen and arch your upper back. Repeat several times. 
    • Figure Four Stretch:Seated with your right ankle on your left knee, hinge forward at your hips with your back flat. Switch sides.
    • Shoulder Shrug and Roll:Lift both shoulders toward your ears; roll your shoulders back and down. Reverse. Repeat three to five times.
  8. Make the time to go for a walk, jog, or run Start small to build the habit and work your way up, It can be surprisingly rewarding!