1. Boost your heart rate
Aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, running and rowing all work your large muscle groups, and effectively increase your heart rate. Aim to work out at a moderate-to-high intensity. This is when you work up a sweat and are unable to talk. (Keep in mind that this is relative. If you’re new to exercise and a brisk walk elevates your heart rate, then that qualifies as high intensity for you until your fitness levels increase.)
2. Add in weights
Strength training improves your lean muscle mass, so you burn more fat 24/7. Aim for at least three to four sets of eight to 12 reps each day. Buy a set of free weights to use in your house, or head to the gym for a session with a personal trainer if you feel you need professional guidance.
3. Keep your body challenged
As your body can often adapt to exercise over time, it’s important to keep changing the mix. Try doing a range of exercises to work your muscle groups in different ways (think a range of cardio, strength and stretching exercises). Then, as your fitness improves, make changes – for example, if you walk for fitness, add in some hills or intervals of jogging.
4. Break up your workout
Pushed for time? Instead of committing to a dedicated 30-minute workout, try doing three or four short 10-minute workouts spread out over your day. Try skipping, jumping on a trampoline, walking around the block or playing ‘chasey’ with the kids.
5. Do more in less time
High-intensity interval training allows you to expend a large number of kilojoules in a short space of time and quickly uses up your glycogen stores. Your body then starts to burn fat for fuel. If you walk to work out, try jogging for a minute every few minutes. Love swimming? Alternate swimming one fast lap with one slow lap.
Remember: Always speak with your doctor or diabetes care team before starting or changing your exercise routine!