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Living with Diabetes

Strategies for staying active at home on Coaches Corner

4/20/2020 by mySugr

Strategies for staying active at home on Coaches Corner

Add some healthy activity to your shelter-in-place home routine with mySugr Coaches Kristen & Maggie in this episode of Coaches Corner with Scott K. Johnson.

Learn how to stretch at your home office desk, tips to get your body moving at home, and some of our favorite home-workout resources!

Note: We can not provide medical advice. Please contact your doctor directly for specific questions about your care.


  • Molly answers your snacking questions
  • How to find movement at home & resources for home workouts
  • Demo of stretches that you can do at your desk, and strength exercises!


Snack Ideas:

Sleep & Diabetes:

Fitness recommendations:


Scott K. Johnson - Hey, great to see you guys. Thank you, there we go. Got all the plugs plugged and things connected and all that stuff. Great to see you guys again. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Coaches Corner. Like always, at least always over the past few weeks anyways so much has changed over these recent times. They're challenging and stressful for almost all of us. Right? We are just full of gratitude and appreciation for everyone doing their part to get through this. One small way that mySugr can give back is by hosting these short conversations with our diabetes coaches to talk about staying healthy in body and mind during these unusual times. Now before we get too far into it I have to give the standard disclaimer. We cannot provide medical advice. Please contact your doctor directly for specific questions about your care. Now with that out of the way, first up we have Molly answering some of the questions from Friday. And then I'm talking with Maggie and Kristen about staying active at home. Let's jump right into it.

Molly Wagman - Hi everyone, this is Molly from mySugr. Thanks so much for attending Coaches Corner. I wanted to address some of the questions that we got last week. So the first one is from Mandie who's asking for some snack options. So I know sometimes it can be tough to get out of your routine if you're used to eating the same things. And sounds like Mandy, you're pretty tired of eating the same things over and over again. But there's a lot of options out there for you. It just depends on what kind of foods you like. So some really good options that are lower carb are cheese and you could have that with some sliced vegetables. Maybe with cucumbers or bell peppers or a few crackers if you are wanting to have some carbohydrates. You could also have mixed nuts or you could even add some dark chocolate to the mix there. That's one of my favorite snacks is dark chocolate chips and some almonds. You can also try slicing up any of your favorite vegetables or fruit. So some lower sugar fruit options are berries. You can even make smaller portions of what you would eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So if you just wanted to cut that in half or cut that into a quarter, you can have that for a snack. Even like a small piece of toast with a fried egg or a hard boiled egg is a really great snack. So I hope that that helps. We have some links for you here that will give you some other options, and you can try something new.

And the other question that we got is from Bonnie and it sounds like she's having trouble with the rising blood glucose overnight. And there's a few reasons that that could happen and one if you're not taking the correct insulin dose for you. And it sounds like you've had to cut back on your insulin. So that's going to cause the blood glucose to rise is if you're not able to take the correct amount for your body, then your blood sugar's going to rise overnight, because our liver is secreting a little bit of glucose all the time. And especially overnight to keep us fueled. So even though we're not moving around a lot or thinking a lot, even during sleep and when we're dreaming our brain is active and using glucose. Our organs, like our lungs and our heart, everything is still working so it still needs glucose. So our liver will supply that for us when we're not eating. So the blood glucose will rise, and again, if you're not taking the correct dose of insulin for you, your basal insulin, your background insulin, then your blood sugars can rise. The other thing that can happen overnight if your blood sugars are rising is looking at your snack. So if you're having a high carbohydrate or a high protein snack before bed, then your blood sugar can then rise. And you might see it rise overnight and wake up high in the morning still as well. So take a look at your snacks. So if it's a higher carbohydrate snack, it sounded like so if you're snacking on popcorn, it looks like you said that you were snacking on popcorn, which is a little bit higher carbohydrate depending on the serving size. So about three cups would be about 15 grams of carbohydrate, which could increase your blood sugar, you would see that start to rise from that small amount, which is just three handfuls or so. So you can try lower carb options like nuts or cheese like we mentioned earlier. Even again a hard boiled egg. You could have a piece of a high protein bar that has lower carbohydrates. And I'll link to some of my favorites here. So there's a couple options there for snacks if you're feeling like you're hungry before bed, but you can also then take a look at dinner time.

So if you feel like you're hungry before going to bed, see if you're eating enough at dinner. And that way you can handle the higher amount of carbohydrates or the higher amount of food that you're eating at your last meal with your bolus insulin dose, if you're taking a bolus insulin like Humalog or Novolog. So look at that, evaluate that. And definitely the best way to find out what is going to work best for you is to monitor so to check your blood sugar. So you want to test before dinner and then after dinner or before bed to see where your blood sugar is rising. Maybe even then two o'clock in the morning or three o'clock in the morning, whenever the middle of the night is for you. And then of course fasting when you wake up in the morning. And that way you'll be able to pinpoint where the blood glucose is rising. And that'll give us a better idea of what changes to make. So if you have coaching through mySugr, then reach out to your coach. Or you can reach out to your doctor and let them know what you find. So I hope that helps. Again, we have some links here for you for extra resources. And we hope to see you next week, thanks.

Scott K. Johnson - Hey friends. I don't know about you two, but I've been a serious couch potato lately. And I have to admit, it was kind of nice for a little while, but I'm starting to miss my regular activity. And I've definitely seen a difference in my diabetes management because of it. How have you guys been doing with all this stuff?

Kristen Bourque - Yeah Scott, I agree with you. I think that we're so used to our normal routines and the activities that we like and enjoy. A lot of times we are going to gyms or our different type fitness studios. So it is kind of kept us on our toes lately to try to figure out ways to be active. Indoors especially because again, depending on where you live, there's certain restrictions for outdoor movement.

Scott K. Johnson - Yeah, we saw one of the Facebook Lives that we did just not too long ago, we had a guest visit, watching from L.A. And they were saying that the local guidance there was recommending not even getting outside in the local neighborhoods for walks.

Kristen Bourque - Wow.

Scott K. Johnson - So it's certainly safe to say that no one's getting out to their local gyms. I tried to go out and just shoot baskets at a local park and the parks were closed down and they had bars across the basketball hoops and stuff. So safe to say no one's doing those big group activities. But there's actually a lot of variance on local guidance around getting outside. And I think we should also acknowledge whether people might feel or overly stressed about doing so, right?

Kristen Bourque - Yeah. I think that's a great point is that also even if you're able to get outdoors, I've talked to some people that notice maybe their neighborhood is not the safest or they don't feel comfortable in that area too. So that's also something to consider. But we have some different ideas to try to keep our activity as much as possible going while we are in this time of lockdown. But it's also important to remember though is that it's okay to not be doing our usual activity because we are in this in between stage, and trying to just adjust. So that's also important to remember as well.

Maggie Evans - Yeah, it's funny. I've had to practice that. I feel like as coaches too we really have to put our money where our mouth is almost, because the struggle with not being able to get that movement in consistently and just having that grace that it is okay if it's not happening every day. I always say I have my more active days and then I have my less active days, versus good and bad just to bring some normalcy to it, because there's just so many changes going on at each moment. And so yet again, I appreciate Kristen bringing that up that it is okay if these things aren't happening all the time. We are in such a flux of change right now.

Kristen Bourque - Yeah, definitely.

Scott K. Johnson - Yeah, that's a great point. And we're just remembering to be kind to ourselves. And I know that we'll talk about some actual home workout routines and some demonstrations and stuff like that. But Kristen, what were some other ways to incorporate healthy activities just around the home during the day?

Kristen Bourque - Yeah, and I'm sure Maggie will kind of speak to this a little bit as well is that just focusing I think on trying to move our bodies more. If you're in an office environment, you don't notice how much you are getting your steps in. So a lot of people I talk to lately are barely hitting 2,000 steps a day and our goal is ideally 10,000. So trying to find ways to move around our house and some of the things that I've, because my workout routine is not what it used to be, I'm just trying to find movement in my every day. So I've been trying to up my cleaning routine a little bit more and do maybe some deeper cleaning. You don't realize that is a good workout for sure. And also organizing, that's something I actually really enjoy as well, but it gives us the time to again move around the house a little bit more and again, spend a little time getting in those steps. If you, depending on where you live, if you have a little space, gardening, something that's an outdoor activity like that, or yard work is also wonderful too. And that really gets in a good workout, you don't realize. And then a couple other things would even just be something like painting. A couple websites have paining classes that you can do. You can order everything or you can just get some stuff curbside at one of the craft stores that's open. And do something like that. So again remember it doesn't have to be what you're accustomed to, but just kind of finding movement around the house in any way that is enjoyable for you is great.

Scott K. Johnson - Those are some great ideas. And I need to set a timer or a reminder to just get up from my home office and my desk every so often and just, even if I take a lap around my house or use my stairs, go up and down some stairs and just get moving a bit more. Those are great.

Maggie Evans - I've been, oh sorry. I was just going to say--

Scott K. Johnson - Oh, go ahead Maggie.

Maggie Evans - I've been using my bathroom breaks as that opportunity, that gentle reminder of getting some movement in. And my bathroom's literally right next to my guest room where I'm doing my work, but I make a point of just five quick laps around the house too. So anyway that you--

Kristen Bourque - Love that.

Maggie Evans - That you can give yourself these mini challenges throughout the day to make it fun too. That can also help as well.

Scott K. Johnson - Great, great ideas. And how about actual home workouts? Now Maggie, I know we'll be doing a quick demo of some exercises and stretches right after this, but what else can people look for and do? I know that Molly has some favorite sites so she mentions a site called Fitness Blender. They've got an amazing YouTube channel. We're also good friends with our buddies at GlucoseZone. They have a wonderful exercise program that's designed for people with diabetes. We'll put links to both of those in the comments as well, but you'll take us through some demos of good exercises, but what else should people be looking for or thinking about?

Maggie Evans - Yeah, I think the apps have really stepped their game up. And a lot of them are now offering free trial memberships for at least a couple months, I feel like to help people get through this period of time. One that I particularly enjoy is the Pelaton App. And theirs is free for three months and if you have a, not all of us do, but if you have a spin bike at home you can do their spin classes. If you have a treadmill, you can do these tread running classes. But they also just have regular bodyweight exercises that you can do. They have yoga, mediation, things like that, so I've really been loving that app lately. Another one too is called ClassPass, which is normally a service where you can use these tokens for your various different gyms and facilities. But they have on demand classes on their app and you can do yoga, bar, high intensity HIIT classes and things like that. So I've been liking that one as well. YouTube, great resource. You can literally search for anything on YouTube and you can find whatever workout you want to do that day. So there are a lot of options out there, free options. You don't have to spend a lot of money on these home workouts. And really getting creative with the types of weights that you use. In the video that we're going to see after this, I get kind of creative with some of my weights that I'm using. Water jug, laundry detergent bottle. I've got my hydro flask right here and sometimes I'll just use that for some, some other arm exercises. So it's fun. You can just get creative with what you have around your house. You don't have to have expensive exercise equipment or anything like that to get just some movement and the blood flowing at home.

Scott K. Johnson - Now you mentioned HIIT or high intensity interval training. Can you tell us a little more about that? I mean that's kind of, I feel like might be considered a buzzword or maybe I just think of it as a buzzword. I hear it all the time, but I don't really understand what it means. Tell me a little bit more about it.

Maggie Evans - Yeah, so HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. And really all it is is that it's a method of exercise or movement where you do a certain exercise at a very high intensity. So my heart's racing, I might be out of breath, but I'm only doing it for a short period of time. A very common form of high intensity interval training is something called a tabata. A tabata is you do 20 seconds of hard work, of whatever exercise that you pick, and then you rest for 10 seconds. And you repeat those intervals for eight rounds. So essentially you have a four minute working round that you get rest within that. So it's just nice, especially if you're short on time. It can be really an easy thing to fit in a quick workout and get a sweat on and feel good. It doesn't have to be this longer form of cardio or exercise as some of us feel like we may need to get.

Scott K. Johnson - What if I'm, sounds kind of scary. What if I'm not in good shape? Or is it I imagine it can be relative, right? So high intensity is relative to my current fitness, right? It just is a matter of what I need to do to get my heart pumping up high enough.

Maggie Evans - Exactly, Scott. You explained it perfectly well, right? So it's your perceived level of intensity. So it might even be more of a comfortable environment at home to try that, because you're going to just be by yourself and you can give that a try and not have to worry about other people in the room, if you worry about other people in the room. So it can be an effective method, and yet again, I always just encourage people, start with where you're at. We all start somewhere and if your high intensity is just walking, maybe walking more briskly for a couple rounds, that's great too. So we're just starting with where we're at and continuing to add in what we can.

Scott K. Johnson - I love that, I love that approach. How about the benefit of stretching? Can you talk about why stretching is so important, especially when we're spending so much time just on our couches or desk chairs throughout the day so much?

Maggie Evans - Yeah, I always think of just the effects of working in an office or at a computer where over time our posture might change. I've noticed this for myself too as I'm typing on my computer my shoulder starts slouching. I might be moving forward a little bit. So really by stretching we're counteracting what position our body's been in that whole day. And especially with our wrists, if our hands are curled this whole time, it's really amazing how nice a wrist stretch feels at the end of the day. And just incorporating that movement, not only yet again helping counteract that more sedentary posture, and maybe if our posture is changing over the course of the day, but it can also just help us feel better at the end of the day. I don't know about you, but I love a nice deep stretch or a nice restorative yoga class. Those can do wonders just for how you feel after maybe being a little bit more sedentary for the day.

Kristen Bourque - I love that.

Scott K. Johnson - I also totally sleep better when I've gotten some good exercise in the day. So that's another benefit to keep moving, even though we're not moving as much as we may have used to. So great. Good, good stuff. Anything else that you two want to touch on before we wrap up for today?

Maggie Evans - Just encourage people to do what you can, right?

Kristen Bourque - Yeah, yeah.

Maggie Evans - So there's no pressure on any of this. I feel like it's coming to me in waves. There's a day where maybe, like today, I'm a little bit more wanting to be at home, not as active. And I'm okay with that because I know maybe another day's going to come along where yeah, I do want to get out there and get that walk. Or I want to do those heavier squats just with my water jug at home. And just having that grace for yourself that movement is always there. You can do it, but if also you're not feeling it, just take that rest day. It's okay.

Kristen Bourque - Yeah, I have to completely agree with Maggie. It's listening to our body. It's again not comparing ourself to others. I think I heard something like someone did a full marathon or a half marathon in their garage or backyard.

Maggie Evans - I saw that!

Kristen Bourque - Don't feel like you have to do that right now. I give that person a lot of credit though. So again, like Maggie said, just listening to your body. Just really again going through day by day and just making the best choices for ourselves and that could be a simple meditation one day, it could be a high intensity one day. So yeah, I think that's the biggest thing we want to hit home is just again, don't compare yourself to others in this situation. And also listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone.

Maggie Evans - And have fun. That's the other key thing too.

Kristen Bourque - Yes, yes!

Maggie Evans - Right, movement should feel good. You shouldn't feel like you have to do something, or if it starts hurting don't do it. Just have fun with it. I've always said too you can always just turn a boombox on, dance to your favorite song and that can be your workout for the day, right? So it doesn't have to be--

Kristen Bourque - Oh my gosh, yeah.

Maggie Evans - We don't have to make it so serious either.

Scott K. Johnson - Great, I love that. Great, great points for sure. And coming up next is an awesome demo from the amazing Maggie herself. So thanks for a great discussion and we'll see you guys back for the next episode very soon.

Maggie Evans - Sounds great, thanks.

Kristen Bourque - Bye guys.

Maggie Evans - Hey mySugr. It's Maggie here, one of your diabetes coaches. I just wanted to run through some quick stretches that you can do at your chair, at your desk, at your couch. Anywhere, just easy little movements that we can do throughout the day just to help get our blood flowing. Help us feel a little bit better. Maybe during that break during your work from home or anything like that you can get some movement in to continue your work day. So I'm just seated at my chair that I use at my desk. I set my reminder for my break and now I'm just going to go through some of these stretches. So the first one is just what I call a head tilt. So you just want to be seated at a nice comfortable position. From here you're just going to tilt your head to one side. So I'm just tilting my head to the right side. You can take your right hand if you want and just lightly grab your head just to help facilitate that stretch a little bit more. You're just going to feel this right through your neck, this side of your neck. You're going to hold this for about 20 or 30 seconds. And then go ahead and release and the same thing on the other side. So you're just going to hold that head slight tug from the hand. We don't want to tug too hard. And then release. So same 20 to 30 seconds on either side. From here we're just going to do some head neck rolls. So you're just going to roll your head side to side. See if you can roll little half circles if you want. You can go full circle if you want. I usually just tell myself about 10 times on each side. It's usually a nice little release on my neck after looking at my computer all day. So just like I said about 10 each side. That's usually a pretty good amount.

From there we're going to do a little side stretch. So I like this stretch because it just stretches out my upper body. And what you're going to do is just take one, I'm going to take my right wrist. Hold it up and with my left hand I'm going to grab that wrist and just stretch to that side. You can stretch your body more if you want to or you can just keep it right here and stretch from the hand itself. You're just going to get a nice stretch through that side body. And then release. So you can hold that for 10, 20 seconds, and then same thing on the other side. I'm going to take my right hand, grab my left wrist and go to that right side. You're going to feel that through your rib cage. You might even hit your oblique a little bit if you can. And release after a couple seconds. From there a nice one is what I call seated pigeon pose. Pigeon is a yoga pose, but I can use my chair. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my right leg with my right ankle and I'm going to bring that up to my left knee, and I'm just going to try and keep that at a nice 90 degree angle. If I'm up nice and straight in my upper body, I'm already going to start to feel that stretch right here in my right thigh. But if I go forwards, if I hinge from my hips, oh, I'm going to start to feel that a little bit more. So it's going to get a little deeper into that stretch. So you can hold that. I usually like to hold this one for a while just because it feels so good.

So anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Yet again, really when you hinge from the hip that's when you're going to feel that more. So think of going forward a little bit more. I'm going to come up from there. I'm going to release that right leg and now I'm going to do the opposite side. So my left leg and bring that left ankle up to meet that right knee. Make sure it's nice and straight that 45 degree angle. And then yet again, I'm going to come hinge from that hip. And hinge forward. This side apparently is tighter because I'm feeling that a little bit more. I didn't even need to hinge that far to feel that. So my left hip is a little bit more tight than my right right now. So hold that, release, and come back up from there. From here whenever I'm sitting I always do like to do a couple what I call just sit to stands. So basically just supported squats. So I'm going to push my chair back a little bit to show you. So from here I'm just in my seated position and I'm just going to come up to a standing and then sit back down again. Come up to a standing, sit back down again. I just like this because it gets a full body movement. I get a little bit more blood flow going. You can completely sit for that fully supported squat, or you can just tap your bottom to that chair and then come back up right again. Tap and then right back up. Or yet again, totally fine to sit completely and then stand from there. So just a nice supported squat. And then from here just to kind of get more of that side body action. More of that rotation going. I do like to do just the seated rotation, so think of being nice and tall through the body almost like someone had a string from the tip of your head to the ceiling. And then you're going to tuck your belly button into your spine. And then from here I'm going to rotate from my belly over to this right side. I can use my left hand to support that knee to help facilitate that stretch, but I don't want to go too far. We don't want to push it. We just want to make sure that we feel a little bit of that stretch on that side body. So I'm going to hold this for about 20 seconds yet again. And then same thing on the other side. Going to check my form, make sure I'm nice and tall through the upper body. Rotate to that left side. And then grab onto that left knee with that right hand. And hold. And then come back, oh! I already feel good right now.

And then the last one, if we've been working at a computer, typing all day or even just working with our hands throughout the day, our wrists need a lot of attention. So I do always like to finish off with some nice wrist stretches. One of my favorite ones is just to open your palm up towards the sky, take your opposite hand and just open that a little bit. You can stretch your arm out completely. You're just going to open up that wrist. So that's one I like to do especially through the work day as I've been working at my computer. Just kind of like to open up that wrist a little bit. From there you can just do some wrist circles. So just go to one side for a couple seconds, and then I'll rotate. Switch sides. You can open your hands if you want to while you're doing this. And then you can just do some open close with your hand. That's just always a nice one to help out. So same thing on this side. I'm going to open my palm to the sky. I'm going to take my opposite hand and just kind of bring those fingers down, as I extend my arm out. It's just going to help bring this up to my forearm. It's just a nice, nice deeper stretch. You can always just kind of hold from here through too. No need to overdo it. So hold this for a little while and then do my wrist circles on this side. Kind of open if I want. Kind of help stretch those fingers out a little bit and then I'm going to rotate the other side. And then my open close. So I can do that too like jazz hands right ? So yeah, so those are just a couple stretches I like to do during my work day just to kind of get my body moving a little bit more. And just help break up my day. So hopefully those help you guys out. Let me know what you think. Thanks guys. Hey mySugr, it's Maggie here, one of your diabetes coaches. I'm just here to chat really quick today about ways to get more movement in throughout your day. I know it's kind of hard with our routines being off and maybe working from home. It's just a lot harder to get that movement in throughout the day and kind of keep active with everything going on. So hopefully some of these tips can be helpful. One thing I know that's been helpful for me is just either setting a reminder about every hour or two hours to get up and move. Just a little quick reminder on my phone, or just making a commitment to myself after each user call or client call that I make that I get up and I do something. If I'm tied to my desk, which my little workspace is in my guest room right now, I just want to make sure that I have a couple things on my list that I can pick from if I can't get out for that walk, 10, 15 minute walk. Just want to make sure I can do a couple quick movements just to get the blood flowing, feel a little bit better throughout my work day and help keep me focused in working well. So one of my movements I've really been enjoying is just a regular bodyweight squat. Nothing too fancy.

Just getting up when that reminder goes off or that timer goes off. Just making sure that I've got good form when I'm doing that squat. So any time we're initiating a squat we just want to make sure that our chest is nice and open, shoulders are pulled back. Belly is pulled in nice and tight to my spine. And I'm just going to send that bottom back, bend at the knees and come up from there. You can put your hands in front if you want. You can keep 'em to the side. You can keep 'em up. Whatever position helps you feel best. I usually just like right in front if I'm doing a bodyweight squat. But for me it's just been really helpful after that timer goes off, get up, 10, 20 quick bodyweight squats. If you do want to add a challenge to it you can. Any weight will do. I don't have any dumbbells at home. So I've just been using stuff like laundry detergent bottle. That's full, that's been pretty heavy. Or even five gallon jug of water or regular gallon jug of water works well too. Just want to keep it close to your center of gravity. You don't want it out in the front too far because that can actually hurt your lower back. So again just nice and tight to my body. Come down from here and go, perfect. So that's one that I've been enjoying doing between my breaks. Another one is just a reverse lunge, because I don't have a lot of space in here. So really all you're going to do is from the standing position, same position that you'd be in for a squat. And now instead of squatting, I'm just going to send my right leg back. Bend at the knee. Try and tap that knee to the ground if I can. And then same thing with my left. Yet again, nice and open in the upper body. Just going down with each one. You can add that weight too if you want to. Doesn't matter though. Body weight's just fine as well. Another easy one too, jumping jacks. Channel your inner elementary school PE class, but just starting from here. Yet again, you can just do 50 jumping jacks. Really effective way to increase your heart rate. Get a little smile on your face and keep up with your work day. All right, guys. Let me know what you think and I'll have more videos ready for you. Thanks.

Scott K. Johnson - All right. There you have it. Did you guys see Maggie with that water jug? Whoa. All right, please let us know how you're staying active at home. Do you guys have any go to routines, apps, websites that you use? One of my favorite activities is the Diet Coke arm curl. One, two. I'm just teasing. But anyways have a great rest of your day. Hope you will come back on Wednesday where I'm talking again with Kristen and Maggie about healthy eating at home. I hope to see you there. Until then, thanks for doing your part to help. Stay well and we'll see you next time.


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