Type 2 Diabetes: Ready, Set, Walk!
Ready, Set, Walk!
Walking is a great way to get fit at any age. Like other forms of exercise, walking allows your body to use glucose without extra insulin. It strengthens your muscles and bones, improves mobility, burns calories, and even helps reduce stress. And what could be nicer than to be outdoors when the weather is warming up and spring flowers are in bloom?
How to Get Started
If exercise is new for you, start by walking 15-20 minutes every other day at a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation comfortably. Try to add about five minutes to your walking time each week, and aim for eventually walking at least 30 to 45 minutes, five days a week. For general health benefits, walk at a pace that elevates your breathing a little. Buy a heart rate monitor and use it to make sure your heart rate is at the right level. To improve cardiovascular fitness, three to four days a week, do half your walk at a very fast pace.
Make the most of your walk by trying the following:
Stretch for 5-10 minutes before and after every walk. Dont bounce or stretch to the point of pain.
Keep your head up rather than looking down at the ground when you walk.
Drink plenty of water before and after exercising, and take a water bottle with you.
Buy a pair of walking shoes that fit comfortably, and wear athletic socks made of a breathable material. This will help you avoid blisters that can lead to foot problems, especially in people with diabetes. If you prefer sneakers for walking, click the image at the bottom of the page.
To make walking a workout that you stick with, enlist a friend, coworker, or neighbor to walk with you. Then vary your route so you dont get bored.
It can also help to use a pedometer to record how far your walk (plan on 10,000 steps a daythat includes all walkingfor optimal health), and keep track of your progress by writing it in a walking journal.
You might also be motivated by a goal, such as being able to enter one of the many fun walks that are fundraisers for charities.
Be sure to check with your doctor before you begin walking or any exercise program.