Walking is considered to be a super-easy way to effectively control diabetes. Numerous stickers have shown that light exercise, such as walking, provides critical health benefits for diabetes patients.
We appreciate that diabetes affects patients in different ways and the impact is unpredictable. However, with a regular exercise and dietary routine, it is easier to regulate the needs of your body and manage your condition.
Researchers found that walking for 30-minutes to an hour every day can help people manage diabetes more effectively. The health benefits of walking include:
1. Better Cardiovascular Fitness
Diabetes patients have an increased risk of contracting a cardiovascular disease (CVD). This reduces life expectancy by 5-15 years. An 18-year study in Finland concluded mortality rates attributed to CVD increased by 5.2 and 4.9 times for type 1 and type 2 diabetes respectively.
2. Improved Glucose Control
It is well known that diabetes patients with higher levels of blood glucose and HbA1c are at greater risk of contracting CVD. Studies show that the long-term benefits of improving CVD is tied with controlling glucose levels.
Light exercise, such as walking, helps muscles absorb blood sugar. This prevents a build up of glucose in the bloodstream and can last for hours or even days. Doctors say walking regularly is essential for continued blood glucose control.
3. Weight Control
Controlling your weight improves CVD which can mean a prolonged life expectancy. Experts recommend taking a 15-30 minute walk after mealtimes helps to improve digestion and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
When you walk, it helps the muscles to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and avoid sugar spikes. It is recommended that you start your post meal walks slowly, but increase the pace a little around half way in.
4. Wards of Depression
Diabetes UK say that people with diabetes are more at risk of developing depression. They estimate around 40% of diabetes patients struggle to keep their mental wellbeing in check.
Exercise, on the other hand, helps to lift your mood, relieves stress and wards off anxiety and depression. Staying in good mental health is better for your body and eating habits. Emotional eating can lead to obesity and depression.
Walking prompts the brain to secrete serotonin, a natural feel-good chemical known as the “happy hormone.”
Walking and Foot Care
If you’re walking on a regular basis, wear suitable footwear. This is particularly important for diabetes patients because blisters, abrasions and calluses are difficult to detect when your feet are numb. Moreover, injuries heal slowly and increase your risk of infection.
A good pair of walking shoes should provide comfort, stability and flexibility. For maximum protection, they should have good balance, support your heels and ankles and leave space for your toes.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on walking shoes unless you plan on day hikes. However, this is not recommended for diabetes patients until you know your limitations, your dietary need and have your condition under control.
Setting Walking Goals
Experts recommend walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day helps people lose weight. Keeping your weight under control lowers your risk of CVD. However, 10,000 steps a day is quite tough – especially if you are not used to walking.
It’s important to set walking goals that enable you to properly regulate and manage your exercise routine. Downloading the sweatcoin app will record the amount of steps you take a day.
Don’t try and do too much in one day. Take a few trial walks to see how your body responds. You can always increase the distance gradually until you hit your step-count target.
Also bear in mind that you do not have to walk 10,000 steps in one outing. It may be a better strategy to break your exercise routine down into three times a day – after each meal for example.
Walking in Nature
Walking in nature has also shown to offer benefits that can help manage diabetes. Spending time in green spaces reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress, and high blood pressure.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia in the UK found that populations with higher levels of exposure to the natural environment report better overall good health – a study that involved more than 290 million people.
You can also make your nature walks fun which helps to increase your mood and motivate you to head into the great outdoors more often.