Walking with Diabetes
Effective Tips to Lower Your Blood Sugar with Walking
Are you diabetic? If yes, have you taken a walk today? You have to!
You see, walking is a cheap, easy, but very effective form of aerobic exercise for Type 2 diabetes patients.
The importance of exercise in diabetes control can be compared to that of diet. The thing is, very few forms of exercise are as convenient and as easy as walking.
You don’t need any special equipment for walking. All you need is a good pair of shoes. What’s more? There’s no need for a costly gym membership or a treadmill that will drill a hole in your wallet. You can walk on a street, in a shopping mall, a sidewalk, or the corridors of your home. This will guarantee you better control over type 2 diabetes.
Before you begin your walk regimen, you must consult your doctor. If your Type 2 diabetes is chronic or not under control, then you should refrain from exercise until you have better control over your blood sugars. Your healthcare provider can examine you and determine whether you’re fit for exercise or not. also, they will recommend the most suitable type of exercise for you.
What are the benefits of exercise in diabetes?
Your exercise plan should consist of aerobic exercise like strength training and walking. Walking as a form of exercise has many benefits, such as:
- Reducing your blood glucose levels
- Reducing your risk of stroke or heart disease
- Helps your body to use insulin effectively
- Acts as a good stress reducer
- Increase your good cholesterol level and lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your blood.
- It improves the strength of your bones and muscles
Note that there is walking, and then there is walking. The latter refers to brisk walking. When you walk briskly, your heart rate goes up, thus helping your lungs and heart to walk out more. When you walk briskly, you also burn more calories.
Research shows that a 30-minute daily workout improves health. But if you’re not in for a 30-minute block, you can take three 10-minute walks daily. That will do the job.
So, how can you walk efficiently with diabetes?
Wear the right shoes
Walking is more fun when you wear the right shoes. Wearing shoes that fit will prevent blisters from forming on your feet. Plantar fasciitis is the most common injury that occurs during walking. However, this can be taken care of by wearing the right shoes.
Wear the right socks
Just like shoes, it is also important that you put on the right socks. Quality cotton socks prevent the formation of blisters. Always wear fresh socks because they can retain sweat which may lead to the formation of blisters. Your socks should also be fitted.
Never fail to check your blood sugar level
Blood sugar checks should be done regularly. Blood sugar level may be classified as too low, or too high. A blood sugar level below 140 mg/dL is classified as too low. If this is the case, then you should load up with at least 15g of carbs. This will prevent your blood sugar levels from going too low.
On the other hand, a blood sugar level above 300 mg/dL is too high. You may need to put off the walking to some other time.
The best time to walk
The best time to go for your walk is 30 minutes after a meal. Exercising in the mornings is also important, as it avoids the peak insulin part of the day, mostly for type 1 diabetic patients.
Water is very important. You must drink to prevent dehydration. Many people only notice their dehydration after it is too late. Drink a glass of water an hour before walking, and another glass at the end of your walk. If you’re going on a hot, long walk, then get some sports drink.
Some snacks for the walk
Get some snacks for the walk. Eat it when you notice signs that your blood sugar is getting low. You may need to increase your carbohydrate intake at this time to prevent hypoglycemia. Take note of the signs and symptoms when starting your walking regimen. Pay attention to your body, and talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
- Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Yardley JE, et al. Physical activity/exercise and diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2016;39(11):2065-2079. doi:10.2337/dc16-1728
- S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes diet, eating, & physical activity. Updated December 2016.
- Cleveland Health Clinic. Glucose control: why timing your exercise after meals matters. Updated August 8, 2018.
- Erickson ML, Jenkins NT, Mccully KK. Exercise after you eat: hitting the postprandial glucose target. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2017;8:228. doi:10.3389/fendo.2017.00228