Simple Medicine: Walk to Improve Blood Sugar Levels

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We are upright walking animals that are meant to amble and not just on a treadmill. A healthy walk after a meal, especially dinner before you sleep, reduces blood sugar levels that play a major role in managing type-2 diabetes. The American Association of Diabetes (AAD) and other world diabetes association underscore exercise, even a little each day, as one of the most important ways to maintain healthy glucose levels.

Tami Ross, RD, LD, a spokeswoman for AAD, says a 20 to 30-minute walk can bring about lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours. Some advantages of walking include: improved blood sugar control; lower blood pressure; improved cholesterol; fewer complications from diabetes, such as heart disease and stroke; weight loss and weight maintenance; improved circulation and movement; less stress and an overall feeling of well-being.

For those new to an exercise routine, take it slow and try 10 minutes of walking a day before upping your exercise to 30-minute workouts. And as your energy and stamina increase, add on a few minutes to your workout. This doesn’t have to be done in one period. You can add up the minutes by walking to the grocery story, working in the garden or anything physical that takes about 10 minutes.

“Walking is man’s best medicine”– Hippocrates- 

But before you begin exercising: when most people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they are overweight, so the idea of exercising is particularly daunting. For your health, you have to get started on a good, reasonable exercise plan, but first you should talk to your doctor.

Your BIMC medical professional will be able to check your heart health, which is particularly important if you already have blocked arteries or high blood pressure. You also need to take into consideration any other diabetes-related complications, retinopathy or neuropathy, for example.

Before you begin exercising set realistic goals. If you haven’t exercised much recently, you will want to start slow and gradually increase the amount and intensity of the activity. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water and always have a treatment for low blood glucose handy (a 15 g carb snack is a good idea). It is smart to check your blood sugar with your glucose meter before and after exercise to make sure you are in a safe range.

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes does change your life, but making small changes to your routine can help you incorporate more physical activity into your day. You need to do what works for your body and your lifestyle. Allow yourself some time to build up to a steady, challenging exercise routine. And be okay with going slow — it’s better for your body in the long run.

Sources: Diabetes Forecast; Chicago Crusader; Endocrine Web

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