In December, we convince ourselves that there is not enough time to decorate the house, attend every holiday party, buy gifts, make healthy choices and manage to fit in a quality workout. As a result, many of us slip into that all-or-nothing mentality that often ends with, "I'll just start up again on January 1."
By putting workouts on the backburner, though, you might notice that sugar cravings, energy slumps, brain fog, and/or weight gain can start to sneak up. In many instances, this can be a result of imbalanced blood sugar levels.
As a diabetic health coach and type 1 diabetic myself, I’ve learned that you don’t need to spend an hour in the gym to positively affect your blood sugar levels. Short bursts of movement, referred to as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be just as effective, if not more so, than an extended 45-minute workout when you're in a time crunch.
When performing HIIT, your blood sugar might initially spike due to the stress hormones your body secretes in response to the workout, but in the 12 to 24 hours post-exercise, your blood sugar will positively be affected.
All you really need for an effective workout is a timer, your body, and the mindset that you can find 16 minutes during the day, even throughout the holidays to get a workout in. Just think about it this way: The average person spends 26 minutes per day scrolling on Instagram!
Below are four exercise moves that you can do to help balance your blood sugar levels throughout the day, even when you are short on time. The moves are lower-body-focused, which will give you the greatest workout since most of your muscle mass resides in your legs and hips.
Perform each of these moves for 50 seconds with a 10-second rest. Repeat this circuit four times—or as many times as you want!
1. Jump rope.
Hold the jump rope in front of you with your elbows close to your body. Rotate your wrists to swing the rope, and begin jumping while engaging your core.
2. Mountain climbers.
Start in a high plank with your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without changing the position of your upper body, draw your right knee into chest. Pause and return to starting position and repeat with your left leg. Pick up the speed for more intensity.
3. Plyo lunge switch jumps.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot back and bend both knees so that the front leg is parallel to the ground and back knee is hovering over the ground. Jump in the air while straightening legs and alternate back foot and front foot so you are now lunging on the opposite side. Repeat for desired time.
4. Broad jump burpee.
In a squat position, lower down until your knees are at 90 degrees. From the bottom, power up using your legs and propel yourself forward. Plant your hands on the ground, just outside of shoulder width, jump your feet back, and lower yourself to the ground so your chest and things are touching the floor. Bring your feet back up toward your hands and stand up.
Want more ideas for how to balance your blood sugar? Here are more exercise tips.