The 3-minute yoga flow to slash your diabetes risk, lower your stress levels – and tone up!

Scientists have found that doing simple yoga stretches for just three minutes every hour can lower the risk of diabetes by up to a quarter.

And it gets better—some exercises don’t even require you to get up.

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University asked 15 young adults to sit at a desk for eight hours and either remain seated or do 180 seconds of yoga or tai chi every hour.

Tai chi had no significant effect. But those who did yoga poses like downward dog, cobra, warrior and mountain lowered their blood sugar levels by about 10 percent.

Let’s not forget the wider benefits of yoga – it strengthens and lengthens muscles (makes you more toned and tempered), and increases stamina, balance and flexibility, which is great if you want to boost your sex life, stay physically fit in middle age and beyond your mental health or nurture.

Yoga poses such as downward dog (photo), cobra, warrior and mountain have been shown to lower blood sugar levels by about 10 percent when repeated throughout the day (stock photo)

Yoga poses such as downward dog (photo), cobra, warrior and mountain have been shown to lower blood sugar levels by about 10 percent when repeated throughout the day (stock photo)

The study’s findings come as no surprise to leading yoga instructor Marianne O’Neill, who teaches with AMP at the Corinthia hotel, which is frequented by celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Daniel Craig and Jennifer Lawrence.

‘Yoga has so many benefits – not just for diabetes, but for anxiety, stress and weight. And it doesn’t have to take long,’ she says.

Set a timer on your phone and complete as many sun salutations as you can in three minutes. Or perform a spinal twist, holding for one and a half minutes on each side.

Or you can do a cobra, then a downward dog, each for one and a half minutes. Repeat your micro session of yoga al desko eight times a day, just three minutes every hour, and get all the benefits without missing a single work deadline…

Seated stretch

Beginners can sit on a chair. Alternatively, sit cross-legged on the floor and inhale slowly through your nose. Hold your breath for a count of four, then relax, and exhale slowly, lowering your shoulders. Repeat three times.

Inhale as you raise your arms above your head, then interlace your fingers and press your palms upwards. Lengthen your upper body, engage your core and hold. Then as you exhale, lean to your left side, press your palms, stretch your arms and extend along the right side of the body. Then raise your arms over your head and lean to the right, extending along your left side.

Spinal twist

Sit cross-legged on the floor – or, if this causes discomfort, sit on a chair, knees together, feet flat on the ground. Open your arms wide and rotate from the base of your spine, placing your left hand on your right knee and your right hand behind you, fingertips touching the floor or the seat of the chair.

Breathe slowly and deeply. Sit tall and roll your right shoulder back. Repeat on your opposite side. Any twist helps with digestion as it gets your system moving. It’s also great for hip flexibility, and stretches the chest, shoulders and back.

Ozempic, which has received a lot of media attention for aiding weight loss, is primarily used to treat diabetes

Ozempic, which has received a lot of media attention for aiding weight loss, is primarily used to treat diabetes

Sphinx pose or cobra

The cobra pose—you lie flat on your stomach, arms at your sides, and rise from the waist like a snake—strengthens the abs, core, and spine, and even the glutes if you engage them. Some people say this stretch also compresses their lower back.

I recommend a beginner variation – the sphinx pose. Place your elbows on the floor in line with your chest, with your forearms flat in front of you. Keep looking at the mat and stay low. Raise your upper body to where it is comfortable, push your chest forward and keep your shoulders back. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Downward dog

Start on all fours, hands on the mat shoulder width apart. Lift your knees off the mat and keeping your hands flat, lift your hips and press your heels into the floor until you make a triangle shape. Straightening your legs can hurt, so bend the knees if necessary.

Push away from your hands so you stretch your arms and keep your bottom high in the air. Hold for a few moments. This releases tension and gets the blood pumping.

Warrior II

Stand up straight, feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot back, and turn it outward at 90 degrees, bending your left knee – in line with your left ankle. Extend your arms horizontally on either side of you – left arm in line with your left leg, right arm over right leg. Turn your head so that your gaze is in line with your left fingertips. Keep your spine vertical. A beautiful rack for balance, flexibility and stamina.

Sun salutation

Sitting for hours adds to the risk of diabetes. This step helps control blood sugar levels.

Start in mountain position with arms by your side, palms facing up. Inhale, raise your arms overhead, stretch and lengthen.

Exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, pulling your core in, until your fingers touch the floor, bending your knees if that’s easier. Inhale, flatten your spine until your torso is horizontal – a ‘half-way lift’.

Exhale, place your hands on the floor and step back into a plank. Lower your knees-chest-chin to the floor. Breathe in cobra. Exhale in downward dog. Inhale, step or jump forward – lift halfway up. Exhale, bend forward. Inhale, roll up and reach your arms above your head. Exhale, return to the mountain.

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