Exercise can help control your weight and lower your blood glucose level. It also lowers your risk of heart disease, a condition that is common in people who have Diabetes. Exercise can also help you feel better about yourself and improve your overall health.Exercise and DiabetesMuscle contractions have a powerful effect on how the body processes glucose, the original biofuel. The muscles are the major consumer of glucose during exercise. It's not surprising since they do most of the work. In each cell, muscles store dense packets of glucose, accounting for around 2,000 calories worth of energy throughout the body. This energy just stays there unless you contract the muscle.During exercise, the muscles deplete their individual glucose reserves. To help restock their glucose supplies, the muscles change in two important ways:They become more sensitive to insulin-a hormone that escorts glucose from the bloodstream into body cellsThey also start to absorb glucose on their own, independently of insulin.This second pathway created during exercise is a boon for anyone with Type 2 Diabetes, which is marked by insulin resistance. When the body is at rest, it has one mechanism for getting glucose out of the blood stream and that way is insulin.What's so good about exercise is that even if the muscles are insulin resistant at rest, that's irrelevant with exercise. Exercise's effect on glucose use occurs not just in people with Type 2 Diabetes but in almost everyone, including those with type 1 Diabetes and pre- Diabetes.Exercise makes a little insulin go a long way. That's generally a good thing. But people who get their insulin from a shot or a pump can end up with too much insulin in the body. That can cause blood glucose to go too low (hypoglycaemia), particularly when glucose is diverted to the muscle cells during exercise. But if you plan ahead and reduce insulin intake, you can go through exercise without swings in blood glucose.People with Type 2 Diabetes can also suffer hypoglycaemia with exercise because of medication, but the risk isn't as great.Exercise's short-term effects can last anywhere from two hours to three days. That's generally why, people should exercise at least every other day, though probably every day is better. Other benefits of regular physical activity can last a lifetime..The power of exercise snackAhaa …. Snacks …. Yummy ….This is the feeling when you hear this word…. the feeling of happiness which is going to fulfil your tummy. So similarly let's see how we can get this same feeling of happiness by incorporating mini workouts for maximum health benefits.In our fast paced life where time is of essence, to find out ways to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines can often be a challenge. So that's why let's introduce the concept of “exercise snacks”- short bursts of exercise which can be easily integrated into your day.This article will explore the benefits of the short exercise snacks, which different types of exercises you can consider in your routine and finally how to make the most of these mini workouts to enhance your overall health.The concept- basically what is exercise snacks and why it should be practised.Exercise Snacks are the micro exercise workouts - brief and focused periods of physical activity that can be performed throughout or any time of the day. The idea is to break down traditional workout routines into smaller, more manageable segments. This approach of brief exercise bouts aims to overcome the barriers of time constraints and lack of motivation that often hinder the regular exercise..HIITHIIT is an acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training. As the name suggests, HIIT workouts are very intense, and the rest period is done using strict intervals. To simplify it, a HIIT workout incorporates full-body, compound exercises, typically bodyweight exercises only, which are done in short, intense bursts, at nearly one hundred percent of your max effort, followed by short, sometimes active rest.For example, 20 seconds at max effort doing a full-body exercise like burpees, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat this interval 20 times. That's a HIIT workout.HIIT workouts can use various work to rest structures, but the work time will rarely go over 30-40 seconds per set, as it is extremely difficult to go all out for more than that, not to mention, maintain that same effort over the length of the workout, which can range from 5-30 minutes (however, generally in the 10-20-minute range).A HIIT workout alternates work intervals of 85 to 95 percent max heart rate and rest periods that won't drop your heart rate below 60 to 65 percent max. If you aren't in this range, you aren't doing HIIT. If you have a heart rate monitor, you will know whether or not you are in this range. If not, then use your best judgment. You will know if you are pushing yourself to the max, but the rest period can get tricky, so when in doubt, keep moving (i.e. jog in place)..Types of HIITJump squatsJump squats can quickly elevate your energy levels by engaging multiple muscle groups, enhancing circulation, and promoting the release of endorphins, leaving you feeling invigorated and ready to take on the day. The explosive nature of jump squats also helps increase your heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness and providing a quick energy boost.Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body into a squat position. Explode upward, jumping as high as you can. Land softly, and immediately go into another squat. Complete three sets of 15 reps..BurpeesBurpees rapidly elevates your heart rate and engages your total body, leading to increased circulation and oxygen delivery to your cells, resulting in an instant energy surge. Burpees also stimulate the release of endorphins, leaving you feeling invigorated and ready to tackle the day's challenges.Start in a standing position. Drop into a squat, and place your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position. Perform a pushup, then jump your feet back to the squat position. Explode up into a jump and repeat. Complete three sets of 15 reps.High kneesHigh knees can bring your energy levels up and engage the core and leg muscles. This movement not only improves cardiovascular fitness but also helps to wake up your body and mind, making it an ideal choice for a quick energy-boosting workout.Stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Begin running in place while bringing your knees as high as possible. Pump your arms to increase the intensity. Complete three sets of 20 seconds..Jumps and lungesIncorporating explosive jumps between lunges, this movement enhances circulation, delivering more oxygen to your cells and leaving you feeling invigorated and ready to conquer your day.Step forward with your right foot into a lunge. Explosively jump, switching your legs in mid-air. Land in a lunge with your left foot forward. Continue to alternate legs with each jump. Complete three sets of 15 reps..PushupsPushups are a fantastic energy booster, leaving you feeling more alert and energized. Additionally, the release of endorphins during pushups can enhance your mood and mental focus, providing an added energy lift.Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body to the ground while keeping your core engaged. Push back up to the starting position. For an added challenge, perform explosive pushups by pushing off the ground to clap your hands together. Complete three sets of 15 reps..Box jumpsBox jumps are a fantastic energy-boosting exercise as they demand explosive power from your lower body, enhancing blood circulation and oxygen delivery, leaving you feeling invigorated and ready for action. The dynamic nature of this exercise also stimulates the release of endorphins, providing a natural energy and mood lift.Find a sturdy platform or box. Stand in front of it with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees, and explode onto the box, landing softly. Step down, and repeat.Complete three sets of 15 reps..BenefitsBoosting metabolism - These short bouts of exercise help to kick start and enhance your metabolism and keep it elevated for a certain period. This means your body continues to burn calories even after you have finished your exercise snack.Improved energy levels - Engaging in brief physical activity can increase blood flow as well as the oxygen circulation to the body which leads to improved energy levels and increased alertness.Enhanced mood - Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are the natural mood lifters. Incorporating exercise snacks into your day can help alleviate stress and boost your mood.Muscle activation - These mini workouts can target specific muscle groups, helping to maintain muscle tone and prevent muscle imbalances.Heart health - Incorporating short bursts of exercise can contribute to improved cardiovascular health by keeping your heart rate up intermittently throughout the day..Types of exercises snacksAt desk exercises - For those with desk jobs, simple stretches and movements like seated leg lifts, shoulder rolls, chair twists stretch to reduce lower back ache and desk push ups can alleviate muscle tension and improve circulation in the body.Stair Climbing - Opt for the stairs to climb up to your office or home instead of elevator. Climbing stairs in short bursts can be an excellent cardiovascular exercise that would engage multiple muscle groups.Walking breaks - Set a timer to remind yourself to take short walking breaks every hour. A brisk walk around the office or your neighbourhood can do wonders for your overall health.Body weight exercises - Engage in active exercises like squats, Lunges, planks, jumping jacks. These exercises do not need any equipment and also these exercises engage various muscle groups and provide a great workout in a short amount of time.Quick Cardio bursts exercises - Activities like skipping, high knee jumps (if you do not have any knee injury or pain), and running in place (Spot running) for few minutes can get your heart rate up quickly..So how do we make most out of these exercise snacks?Consistency - The key to take the most benefits of exercise snacks is consistency. Aim for multiple short bursts of physical activity throughout the day.Variety - Change your exercise snacks to prevent boredom and engage different muscle groups. This will help to prevent overuse injuries from repetitive movements.Time management - Plan your exercises snacks strategically. Use breaks, transitions, and free moments to squeeze in a quick workout.Correct posture matters - Even in these short sessions of physical activity, focus on a correct posture to avoid the overuse injuries. Quality of the exercise matters or is crucial.Progressive intensity - Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercise snacks as your fitness levels improve.Exercise snacks offer an innovative solution to the common barriers that hinder the regular exercise routine. By breaking down physical activity into manageable segments, you can enjoy the numerous health benefits of exercise without needing a dedicated time for the workout session. From boosting metabolism, enhancing mood and cardiovascular health, these mini workouts pack a powerful punch. With creativity, consistency and a willingness to prioritize your health, exercise snacks can become a valuable addition to your daily routine..Be aware of the risksFor people with Diabetes, exercise does entail minimal risks, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. Exercise changes the response of your body to the insulin secreted. Regular exercise makes the body more sensitive to insulin, and with sudden spurts of exercise, the blood glucose level may get too low (called hypoglycaemia).You may need to check your blood glucose level before and after exercising. Your doctor can tell you what your blood glucose level should be before and after exercise.If your blood glucose level is too low or too high right before you plan to exercise, it's better to wait until the level improves. It is especially important to watch your blood glucose level if you exercise in really hot or cold conditions, because the temperature changes the rate of absorption of injected insulin.Watch your blood glucoseHypoglycaemia usually occurs gradually, that is, usually it gives adequate warning to the individual. You need to pay attention to how you're feeling during exercise. Sudden anxiety, missed heartbeats, palpitations, dizziness, excessive sweating and nausea are the usual warnings the individual should heed and terminate the work-out. Unconsciousness is the advanced stage of hypoglycaemia.People who have Diabetes should carry at least 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like table sugar with them at all times to combat hypoglycaemia.Many people who have Diabetes may have problems with the nerves in their feet and legs. This is called diabetic neuropathy. It's important that you wear appropriate shoes that fit well and yet have plenty of room, to compensate for swelling during exercise. Blisters, excessive redness are warnings that should direct you to consult your doctor or foot care specialist..Drink more fluidsWhen you're exercising, your body uses more fluid. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be getting dehydrated.Dehydration (not enough fluid in your body) can affect your blood glucose level. Drink plenty of fluid before, during and after exercise..Warm upBefore any exercise routine, a warm-up is necessary. Before warming up, muscles lie in a resting state. Sudden exercise acts as a shock for the muscles and can lead to muscle stiffness and muscle soreness.Directly exercising without warming up can lead to soft tissue injury, minor injury and muscle spasm. Warming up before exercise helps increase blood flow to the muscles which reduces muscle stiffness, reduces the risk of injury and activates the muscles for any form of exercise regime. Warm-up before exercising activates your metabolism which improves the response of an exercise regime. Warming up should always begin with a static warm-up followed by a dynamic warm-up.Static warm-upStatic warm-up involves single point movement of the body parts and helps in initiating a basic range of motion to the muscles. A static warm-up should be done for 1-3 minutes.StretchingFor the neck, stretches such as lateral and forward stretching and side stretching can be done. Upper body twist, hamstring stretch (stretching by keeping the legs straight), quad stretch (stretching the muscles of the thighs) and calf stretch (stretching the calf muscles by leaning against the wall) can be done. Shoulder rotations can be done to activate the shoulders.Dynamic warm-upDynamic warm- up improves the range of motion and activates leg, hip and core muscles. It strengthens muscles for an exercise regime and improves body awareness.Strengthening: for upper back and shoulder strengthening, one can do 10 bicep curls a day.Push-ups: Push- ups are an effective warm- up option for shoulder and upper back strengthening.Skipping: Skipping is recommended in people who are below 40 years. It is recommended to do 100-200 repetitions for 2-5 minutes.Squats: Squats strengthen thigh muscles and lower back muscles. It is recommended to do 20 squats a day.Lunges: Lunges help in strengthening leg muscles and help in weight loss. It is recommended to do 5 lunges a day.Hip rotations: Rotate your hips in clock and anti-clockwise direction. This will help activate your hip and back muscles.Leg swings: Leg swings can be done in lateral position by pulling in and pushing out and also can be done by moving the leg forward and backwards.PT exercises: PT exercises improve the range of motion and activate muscles for an exercise regime.Cardio: Cardio exercises such as static jogging, running and normal to brisk walk can be done if you don't have knee problems..Cooling downAfter exercise, cooling down is important to relax the body. Sudden stopping of movement after exercise can cause pooling of blood in the legs and can also nausea.Cooling down loosens up the joints and increases the blood flow, reduces muscle stiffness and soreness, helps activate the central nervous system (CNS) and moderates blood circulation to maintain the performance level after exercise. A light jog or a medium brisk walk for 5 minutes could help the body cool downDr Richa Kulkarni is an International Sports Physiotherapist, Chief Consulting Physiotherapist and Ergonomics Advisor at Dr. Richa's KINESIS - Sports Rehab andPhysiotherapy Clinic.