Walking is a simple form of exercise that everyone in good health can perform but the benefits of walking for people with diabetes is huge! Not only is it one of the most popular physical activities for people with diabetes but it is also the most widely recommended because of its low impact on joints but also because it is readily available to anyone – it requires no special equipment and can be performed just about anywhere!
A steady regimen of walking – thirty minutes to an hour each day – can bring great results in lasting health benefits as well as helping to control diabetes. Below are three health benefits for managing diabetes that are a result of establishing a regular walking routine.
1. Better Glucose Control
Physical activity such as exercise helps muscles to absorb sugar in the blood. This prevents glucose from building up in the blood stream which can be detrimental to a diabetic. Although this effect can last for hours and even days, it is not permanent which is why implementing a regular walking routine is a great option for continued control of blood glucose levels.
2. Improved Cardiovascular Health
People with diabetes are much more susceptible to heart disease. In fact diabetics are at least twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer from a stroke, compared to someone who does not have diabetes 1. Walking helps to improve cardiovascular function which in turn helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Weight Management
Incorporating regular walks into a daily routine is an effective way of managing weight. Pairing exercise with a good diet helps to lower weight and also reduce other health risks.
Consult a Health Care Provider!
Before starting any new exercise regiment, a health care provider should always be consulted – especially for diabetics – to make sure it’s okay to increase activity levels. An additional concern for people with diabetes is foot problems so a consultation with a podiatrist might also be in order before starting a new exercise regiment.
Once the go-ahead has been given, start by taking it slow. A major point of emphasis when starting any new exercise regiment is to avoid injury. Another key point is to make sure that walking becomes a part of the daily routine in order for long term improvements in health. The optimum walking duration is about forty-five minutes to an hour at five to seven days a week; remember to gradually build up the duration and frequency of walks in order to prevent injury for long term success.
Other recommendations to help with motivation and maintain the new regiment are walking with other people such as family members and friends. Another suggestions is joining a local walking group or a Meet Up; this also allows for social accountability and encouragement among peers, increasing the likelihood that walking becomes part of a daily routine.
So what’s the hold up? The only thing that is preventing improved health as a diabetic is ourselves; take action towards a better you today!