3 Huge Benefits of Walking for Diabetics

WalkingWalking 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.

Get Walking!

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!

1 http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/diabetes-heart-disease-stroke/Pages/index.aspx#connection

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Cold Weather Tips for Diabetes

Running
“Running” by János Balázs is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Winter is my favorite season! As the temperature drops and the air becomes dry as it blows against my face, I know that winter has finally taken over autumn for its rein of three months or more. I really enjoy winter not only because of the many holidays and festivities but because it allows me to use the fireplace, bundle up and really enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Winter however can also be difficult for people with diabetes as diabetics tend to have higher blood glucose levels during colder months than warmer months. Winter months cause diabetics to take more precautions with daily living. Below are a few tips that will help manage diabetes when the temperature drops!

Cold Weather Awareness:

• Keep diabetic supplies out of the cold: The extreme cold can affect insulin and cause electronics such as glucose monitors to stop working. Remember to take supplied out of the care when temperatures outside go below freezing

• Avoid getting sick: Winter is cold and flu season. Being sick and being under stress can cause blood glucose levels to rise. When you’re sick, you are less likely to eat properly which also has an impact on blood glucose. Be germ free by washing hands with soap and water so germs are not spread and be sure to sneeze into your sleeve or tissue rather than your hands. Also be sure to get vaccinated against the flu.

• Avoid weight gain: Holiday parties and get-togethers have lots of food so preventing weight gain can sometimes be difficult. Seasonal foods and treats are filled with carbohydrates that can cause a large spike in blood glucose. Be proactive in meal planning when it comes to holiday parties and limit treat consumption. For type 2 diabetics, even a small wait gain makes it more difficult in managing diabetes

• Take care of your feet: Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage which causes a loss of feeling in a person’s feet and toes. Cold weather causes skin to become dry which can result in cracking which can lead to infection. Moisturize feet to keep the skin healthy as it acts as a protective layer; inspect feet regularly and if you see any injury that isn’t healing, seek medical attention. Proper shoes should be worn during the winter to keep feet warm and dry, especially when traversing in snow.

The above mentioned tips are great for the winter seasons but another great tip is to stay active as a diabetic during the winter months. Exercising and being active provides benefits to your health as well as your diabetes. It’s important not to skip workouts it plays an important role in controlling blood glucose. Exercise helps with insulin sensitivity for all type 1 and type 2, resulting in better regulation of blood glucose levels. Exercise also helps to increase your metabolic rate keeping your body temperature at elevated levels even hours after working out.

One added benefit of exercising in cold weather conditions is that it can “…improve glucose tolerance and stimulate glucose uptake in peripheral tissues…by enhancing glucose oxidation via insulin-independent pathways…(and) by increasing the responsiveness of peripheral tissues to insulin.” This relationship was shown in a study done by the Department of Physiology at Laval University Medical School in Quebec, Canada.

Although some people may not like the winter months, I love it! Days get short, the temperature drops and it’s a great change of scenery and a chance to enjoy the natural cycle of the earth. What tips do you have to help with cold weather awareness or exercising during the winter?