Step 3: Microworkouts
Quick recap of the last 2 days:
Step 1: My Secret Weapon explained how I’ve successfully used Berberine to help control my patient’s blood sugar levels.
Step 2: Eat This Type of Breakfast taught you how to start your day with a fat based breakfast that sets the tone for your body burning blood sugar the rest of the day.
Now, it is time for Step 3: Microworkouts
Diet and exercise are key to healthy blood sugar levels. But not all diets are alike. For example, a low-fat diet will not help you control your blood sugar. And, the wrong type of exercise won’t help either. Don’t worry if you’re a little confused right now. Keep reading. This is just as simple and easy as the first two steps. Remember, I said it would only take 10 minutes.
First, let’s take a look at exercise. It may come as a surprise but I don’t recommend traditional cardio for blood sugar control. Long duration cardio is not the most effective exercise for blood sugar control due to a hormone called Cortisol.
Huge amounts of cortisol are released when we encounter intense stress, often referred to as the “Fight or Flight” response. But cortisol causes your blood sugar to rise and when we’re trying to control blood sugar levels, this is not heading in the right direction.
Here’s what happens: cardio for an extended period of time can result in a drop in blood sugar BUT… push past a certain point and your body will think you are in danger. The “Fight or Flight” stress response will kick in and signal your adrenal glands to pump out cortisol causing your blood sugar to rise. Your body thinks it needs this sugar energy to escape danger and you’ve lost the advantage to lower your blood sugar levels.
Instead, we want exercise that will burn through blood sugar and help decrease levels.
Microworkouts are the perfect exercise to burn blood sugar without zoning into cortisol release.
What are Microworkouts? They are short 1-2 minute bursts of exercise completed throughout the day. So instead of working out for 30-50 minutes once a day, you exercise for 1-2 minutes 10 times a day. Total time 10-20 minutes. Not only a significant time-saver but you can do these exercises ANYWHERE!
I know it sounds too good to be true but studies back up the effectiveness of these Microworkouts:
In one fascinating study conducted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario scientists compared the efficacy of controlling blood sugar when participants exercised at a high intensity for 1 minute at a time (10 minutes total) compared to those who exercised at a low intensity for 45 minutes. What they found was that the 1 minute group actually had a better decrease in blood sugar levels compared to the 45 minute group in only a fraction of the time.*
And, as I said earlier, these exercises are simple enough to do anywhere.
My favorite micro workout involves short bursts of either squats, stairs or wall sits.
1 — Squats require going from standing to a squat position and back up. Keep your weight in your heels and watch that your knees do not extend past your toes when squatting. If you are just beginning you may want to hold on to something for balance.
2 — Stairs are just that. Walk up and down a flight of stairs.
3 — Wall sits are a modified squat that are good for beginners or those with bad knees. You stand with your feet shoulder width apart and with your back straight up against a wall. You then move your feet about 1 foot away from the wall. You slide your back down the wall into a squat with a 90 degree angle between your lower leg and upper thighs. Or in other words, your shins are parallel to the wall and your thighs are parallel to the floor. And you hold this “sitting” position with back pressed against wall. Don’t worry if you’re unable to get to 90 degrees at first. It may take building some strength and balance before that feels comfortable.
The best thing is that none of these exercises require any equipment or special clothes. You’ll be surprised how creatively you will find a few minutes to complete these. (think…waiting for your coffee to brew, taking your laundry upstairs….)
A Microworkout example would look like this:
Squats: Do as many air squats (no weights) as you can in 1 minute.
Stairs: Do as many up/down flights as you can in 1 minute.
Wall Sits: Hold wall sit position for 1 minute.
Complete one of these exercises for 1 minute, 10 times throughout the day. If you would rather knock them all out back to back you could do that too. You would simply work for 1 minute followed by a 1 minute break and repeat
When 1 minute becomes too easy, increase time to 1.5 – 2 minutes / 10 times throughout the day. Again, If you are going to do more than one set at a time simply give yourself a 1 minute break in between.
You can choose to stick with either squats or stairs or wall sits for a week before moving on OR you can change it up each day: Day 1 squats, Day 2 stairs, Day 3 wall sits, Day 4 squats….
Seriously, these types of Microworkouts are among the most effective exercise routines for optimal blood sugar control. They work extremely well for improving muscle sensitivity to blood sugar while avoiding overworking your body to the point of cortisol release.
By creating a new habit and performing these exercises consistently throughout the day, you will see dramatic improvements in your blood sugar levels. It’s just that simple.
Step 1: My Secret Weapon, Berberine
Step 2: Eat This Type of Breakfast
Step 3: Microworkouts
Step 4: Spray This On Your Muscles will be coming out tomorrow, and it’s a double winner! It will help with the sore muscles you may have from Step 3: Microworkouts and it will also help improve your muscles’ blood sugar sensitivity. Stay tuned!