You don't need lots of expensive equipment to get your body moving. With these simple exercise moves and a few cheap fitness items, you can get in shape and improve your blood sugar.
Before any strenuous physical activity, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Target: Quadriceps (thighs)
A. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a ball placed between your lower back and a wall. Lean back into the ball with your hands on your hips.
B. Bend your knees and lower your body toward the floor as if sitting on a chair. Your knees should not pass in front of your feet. Use your thighs to lift and lower your body. Perform 15–20 reps.
Target: Improved balance
A. Sit on a stability ball with your hands on its sides. Keep your spine straight and look forward. Raise one foot off the floor; hold for 5 seconds.
B. Return your foot to the floor and repeat with other foot. Perform 5 reps on each foot.
Target: Biceps (upper arms)
A. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and evenly distribute the tubing under your feet. Hold the tubing handles at hip width, maintaining straight wrists.
B. Keep your upper arms directly under your shoulders as you bend your arms at the elbow and pull the handles up. Return to starting position and repeat. Perform 10–12 reps.
Target: Triceps (back of arms)
A. Stand with one foot in front of the other, leaning slightly forward from the hips. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Hold weight in the hand opposite the forward leg and extend that arm down and forward. Place your other hand on your thigh.
B. To a count of 2, raise weight toward your waist, bending your elbow. Lower to starting position. Perform 10–12 reps on each arm.
Target: Pectorals (chest)
A. Lie on your back with feet flat and knees bent. Hold the weights over the center of your chest, arms and wrists extended.
B. With elbows bent, lower arms to the floor, keeping hands aligned with chest. Raise to starting position. Perform 10-12 reps.
Dumbbells or handheld weights are usually sold by the pound. When shopping for weights, check to see that you can lift them without much difficulty. As you gain strength and confidence, purchase the next heaviest weights. Most people start with 5-, 8- or 10-pound weights, depending on strength, age and gender. If those are too heavy for you, it's fine to start lighter. A dumbbell rack might be a good investment for keeping your weights organized and off the floor.
Resistance tubing is lightweight and inexpensive. It's great for progressive resistance training, in which you challenge your muscles by increasing the resistance level, number of repetitions and number of sets. Generally, light-colored tubing provides light resistance and darker colors provide more. Tubing is sold in most sporting-goods stores and online.
The exercise ball (or stability ball) is a popular tool to increase core strength, balance and overall fitness. A ball can be used for Pilates, yoga and strength training. Exercise balls usually come in 55 cm or 65 cm sizes. If you are taller than 5 feet, 5 inches, use the larger size. Idea: Sit on a stability ball instead of a chair when you're doing desk work to help strengthen your core.