Today in the United States, we are finding more and more of us have to deal with diabetes. Most of us can attribute this to over-indulging in foods that helped contribute to one of the major causes of diabetes, overeating. Yes, we have become larger than our ancestors and now our children are facing this disease as well, with more and more children being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes before they are even 13 years old.
One of the main factors in this rise in our waistlines is our lack of activity. Think about it this way. In the past, our parents, parents used to walk more. They walked to and back from the stores, to school, to church, to visit neighbors. They walked just about everywhere they wanted to go. Because the luxury of owning a car was not in their means.
And going back another generation, our grandparents, and great-grandparents did more physical exercise then we could ever hope to duplicate today, working out in any gym. And they worked from sun up, to sun down, usually from 5 Am in the morning to dusk, had a good, healthy dinner of meat, potatoes and a healthy portion of vegetables and usually plain water, milk and occasionally coffee to end the meal with. Then they were usually in bed by 9 PM. In order to get up and start their routine all over again.
Can you see yourselves living this kind of routine? If we did, then chances are we would all be in much better condition than we are now. But this is NOT the early 20th century. Its today, the age of digital wonders, where everyone or at least quite a few of us sit in front of a computer at a desk and the most exercise we get is with our fingers, typing. Now don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of people who exert themselves at work, but those that do, have changed their eating habits to eating more and more carbs that they actually don't work enough to cut through the caloric intake.
Unfortunately, this way of living has some repercussions, one of the most common which impacts our health is diabetes. One of the best and easiest ways to fix this is for all of us to be more physical. Getting off of those desk chairs, turning off the video games and getting off of the couch, and going for a walk. Yes, a simple walk, but a walk with an attitude.
Walking is one of the most popular and widely recommended forms of physical activity for people with diabetes. It’s easy, relaxing and can be done practically anywhere. Most important, it’s highly effective at controlling blood glucose levels. Still, there are important things for people with diabetes to consider before taking off.
By walking every day for 30 minutes to an hour, people with diabetes can reap the following benefits:
Improved glucose control. Exercise helps muscles absorb blood sugar, preventing it from building up in the bloodstream. This effect can last for hours or even days, but it’s not permanent. That’s why walking regularly is essential for continued blood glucose control.
Better cardiovascular fitness. Because people with diabetes are at increased risk for heart disease, this is an important benefit.
Weight control. Regular walking burns calories; this can help control weight, which in turn can reduce health risks.
First, it’s important for you to get the OK from a health care provider for any new exercise program to make sure you are fit enough to increase your activity levels. A health care specialist can also inform you of special precautions to take based on what type of diabetes you have. Other factors to consider include medications being taken, your current fitness state, glucose levels, and other factors.
Walking and Foot Care
Foot health is particularly important for anyone with diabetes, so the input of a podiatrist may be especially useful if you're considering a walking program. Blisters, abrasions, and breaks in the skin of the feet are often hard to detect since foot numbness is one symptom of diabetes. These injuries are slow to heal and prone to infection since another symptom of diabetes is reduced blood flow in the small blood vessels of the extremities. A podiatrist or other healthcare specialist can recommend alternative forms of exercise if a foot condition makes walking difficult.
Importance of Shoes
It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on walking shoes, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
The shoes need to fit comfortably, with plenty of room in the toe area. They should not rub at the heel. Some walking shoes include an extra pair of eyelets close to your ankle. Lacing these may help prevent heel friction.
Walking shoes are different from running shoes. Walking shoes should be flatter and flex in the forefoot. The staff at a “sports shoe store,” an increasingly popular type of specialty retailer, is usually well trained at fitting walking shoes. But you will also find good service at a technical running store where serious runners purchase their shoes.
Don’t forget socks. Cotton socks can bunch and retain moisture. Check out newer synthetic fabrics, such as CoolMax and Dri-Fit that wick moisture away from the skin.
Start a Walking Program.
Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, it’s time to get started.
Begin slowly and easily. Walking just 5 or 10 minutes on the first day is perfectly acceptable if that’s all you can accomplish. The important thing is not to get injured or sore, which could end a walking campaign at the starting line.
Track Your Progress. The pedometer is a portable device that measures a person's physical activity level throughout the day. Pedometers are affordable, reliable, and can be used as a motivational tool. Though they are designed to be worn at the waist, they can also be worn in other locations, such as the arm or ankle. So just how many steps should you aim for? Most doctors and physical trainers shoot for 10,000 steps per day. But for a beginner, it can be daunting to set a pedometer goal of 10,000 steps and see yourself falling short most of the time. ... But if you want to get enough physical activity to reduce your health risks and manage your weight, you should find ways to increase your daily pedometer step count towards a goal of 10,000 or more.
What you need to track. Using a good, reliable pedometer is important. Fortunately, we have tested and graded the top Pedometers out there and have provided a one-stop shop for you to select from. Go to PedometersUSA.com and you can choose one that suits your needs the best.
Once you've picked out the pedometer for your needs you can get into a walking exercise routine that can help you to help yourself!
Add 5 or 10 minutes per week. As one continues to improve, aim for 45 minutes to an hour, five to seven days per week. That’s an ideal amount of time for blood glucose maintenance. However, health benefits begin to accrue at just 30 minutes per day.
Break it up. Several 10- to 15-minute sessions are just as effective as one longer walk.
Count your steps. Pedometers and activity monitors such as Fitbit can help track total steps taken on daily walks, or all day long. Recording walking totals can be motivating.
Find a place to walk. If one’s neighborhood is unsafe, limit walking to daytime, walk in groups or try a nearby school track, community center or shopping mall.
Always wear a diabetes ID bracelet and carry glucose pills, hard candy or sweet snacks in case your blood sugar drops.
Follow a doctor’s orders regarding when to check blood glucose levels. You may need to take readings before, after and perhaps even during their exercise routine.
Be sure to do a foot check after each walking session and check for cuts, abrasions, and blisters.
Walking With Others
It’s often valuable to have a friend join you on walks to help you stay motivated, especially through busy periods, bad weather and holidays, when it’s tempting to slack off. In many communities, there are a variety of walking groups—mall-walkers, stroller-walkers, hikers, race-walkers and groups formed by neighborhoods, religious groups, and social clubs.
Check community center bulletin boards, neighborhood newsletters or postings at health clubs to find a local walking group. Enter the phrase “walking clubs” and the name of your city or town into an Internet search engine and many other options will likely present themselves.
The Key thing to remember is becoming more active, it can make you a better, healthier you!