Walking is a good exercise for people of any age and is highly beneficial for people who have diabetes.
In fact, for diabetic people, physical activity is an important component in managing this chronic disease. If you stay fit and active, you’ll be better able to control your diabetes and keep your blood glucose level in the correct range.
Proper control of your blood glucose level is essential to preventing long-term complications, such as nerve pain and kidney disease.
When it comes to exercise for diabetic people, nothing is better than walking.
Walking is an aerobic exercise that helps your body use insulin better, an important factor in diabetes management.
Walking also makes your heart and bones strong, reduces your stress level, improves your blood circulation and reduces your risk for heart disease by regulating blood glucose and blood pressure levels and improving cholesterol levels.
Along with improving your physical health, walking can improve your psychological well-being and reduce your medical costs.
To top it off, walking is free, easy and you already know how to do it.
The emotional effects of walking in individuals with Type 2 diabetes has been found to be positive as there is an element of physical and psychological well-being. Walking is not only good for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes but is good for Type 1 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
How Much Walking Do One Needs?
Adults need 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking in order to stay healthy.
To reach the target of 150 minutes per week, remember that you do not need to walk for 30 minutes at a time. You can break your activity into three 10-minute walks instead.
If you are diabetic and want to take up walking, there are certain things that one needs to keep in mind.
Here are some useful walking tips for people who have diabetes.
1. Get into the Walking Habit
Walking is good for managing one’s diabetes, but it does not imply that one needs to walk for hours. Walking should be a part of one’s daily routine and then slowly build up to walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes most days of the week.
The best time for a diabetic to walk is about one to two hours after a meal, and morning is better than afternoon or evening.
One should include a gentle warm-up period in the initial stage of walking and a cool-down at the end of each walking session.
You also need to move correctly when walking. The heel of one’s foot should hit the ground first when one takes a stride, while the rest of the foot should contact the ground as one rolls one’s weight forward. One should keep one’s chin up and one’s shoulders as well as back straight while one is walking.
To have fun one can walk with the friend.
2. Sneak It In
You can add extra walking to your daily routine by making simple changes like:
• Walk around while one is talking on the phone or during TV commercials.
• Include walking while performing small chores, such as working in the garden, raking leaves, cleaning one’s house or washing the car.
• Park at the far end of the parking lot so that one can to one’s destination.
• Always try to take the stairs rather than the elevator.
• Spend quality time with one’s family and friends by planning a bike ride or even a walk in a park.
3. Check One’s Blood Sugar Levels
Before one walks out of the door, it is essential to consider one’s blood sugar level. For people with Type 1 diabetes and people with Type 2 who take insulin or blood glucose-lowering medications, it is important to monitor their blood sugar level before exercising. This will help limit hypoglycemia.
It is important to check one’s blood sugar about 30 minutes before one starts one’s walking session. If one’s blood sugar is below 120 mg/dl before working out, eat a low-fat snack that does contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit.
Hold off on exercising if you have high or low blood sugar.
4. Choose the Right Shoes
When it comes to walking, always wear appropriate shoes. The right shoes will protect your feet and prevent developing blisters, ulcers or sores.
Diabetes causes nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations.
Walking barefoot should be avoided by those suffering from diabetes.
5. Pick the Right Socks
Just like the right shoes, the right socks are also important for diabetic people to prevent blisters on the feet.
Avoid cotton socks, as they retain sweat and can cause blisters. Instead, wear athletic socks or diabetic socks made of sweat-wicking polyester fiber.
Not only the material, the fit of one’s socks do make a difference. Get a pair of socks that fit well with the shape of your feet.
6. Carry Snacks and Water
If one is a diabetic, it is better to drink a glass of water about one hour before one takes a walk. Also, drink a few sips of water every 20 minutes if you are walking for a while.
When one is done with walking, rest a bit and drink another glass of water.
Also, pack a healthy snack that one can carry with oneself. An apple or some oat biscuits are also good. Snacks help in case one’s blood sugar levels come down while walking.
It is safe to wear a medical identification bracelet or even necklace and also carry a personal identification with oneself.
7. Check Your Feet Every Day
When one gets home from walking, remove one’s shoes and closely check one’s feet daily. One must check the tops, sides, soles, heels and the area between the toes.
Even small sores or blisters can cause much trouble.
8. Wash and Dry One’s Feet
After one comes home from one’s morning or even evening walk, one must wash one’s feet. This will help keep one’s feet free of germs as well as other impurities, which can otherwise lead to certain infection.
One must wash one’s feet with using lukewarm water and a mild soap. Once or twice a week, make use of a pumice stone to get rid of an accumulated dead skin or any corns and calluses. Always try to scrub the feet after a shower or bath when one’s skin is soft.
After washing one’s feet, dry them thoroughly, especially between one’s toes.