Diabetic walking mistakes make exercise less effective and even dangerous for a type 2 diabetic. You can avoid these common mistakes and get all the benefits of walking.
Some of these mistakes may lead to injury, cutting short your walking plans.
That would be a shame because walking as little as 30 minutes a day has been proven to change the life of a type 2 diabetic.
Walking is a great way to get the benefits of exercise for a diabetic.
You are lowering your blood sugar by using muscles, and the ones in your legs are the largest in your body.
Muscles absorb blood sugar with the result of lower glucose levels for hours after you walk. Exercising every day increases your muscle mass, and muscles burn calories fast.
That means exercise makes it easier to lose weight. Another plus is that morning walks in the sun improve your sleep.
Most important of all, half of the type 2 diabetic cure is exercise. This is why it is so vital to avoid diabetic walking mistakes. Here is the list.
Type 2 diabetics need to get an okay from a doctor and from a podiatrist.
You need to know if there is any reason to try something else for exercise or if you need to go extra slow at first.
The doctor will tell you about changes in your medication timing or dosage, and the podiatrist will check your feet for problems that would make walking a bad idea.
Once they have cleared you medically, you know it is safe to start your daily walking program.
You also need the kind of shoes that protect and support your feet so you have a proper walking stride.
Repetitive motion like walking can wear down skin in "hot spots" if your shoes are not the right kind. So you cannot wear any old walking shoe on your diabetic feet.
One of the hardest diabetic walking mistakes to avoid is doing too much too fast.
You want to see results right away, but if you plan to keep doing this every day you have to begin slowly and build toward your goal.
Trainers say you should start with 5-10 minutes at a time for the first week. Then add 5-10 minutes every week until you are up to where you want to be.
Try breaking your walking time into several 10-minute sessions and you will still get good results.
A pedometer or walking app on your phone will help you see how much you are really doing. It shows you how active you truly are.
Some of these gadgets tell you how many calories you burn all day, which may motivate you to change even more.
Remember, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the things that made us type 2 diabetics in the first place.
Walking takes planning. Where will you walk? Is it safe there? Will you have to walk only during the day?
You need to find a place where you feel safe. There may be a school track close by you can use.
Community centers have walking tracks, and malls are great for bad weather and for safety. Some malls open early just for walkers.
But because you are diabetic, you need to have a buddy walking with you.
Besides the safety benefits, a friend can help you stay on your daily walking plan. One of the big diabetic walking mistakes is walking alone.
There are walking groups you can join - mall walkers, stroller walkers, race walkers and hikers to name some.
Find them online or check with churches and social clubs, things like Silver Sneakers, to find a group you would enjoy.
Diabetic walking mistakes like not preparing yourself can get you into trouble. Because you are a type 2 diabetic you cannot just get up and go.
The best time for a diabetic to walk is one to two hours after a meal, and morning is better than afternoon or evening.
Always check your blood sugar before you exercise.
Drink a glass of water about an hour before it is time to walk, and drink a few sips every 20 minutes if you are walking for a while. Then when you have finished, drink another glass of water.
One of the more serious diabetic walking mistakes is to forget to drink water, so write a note or set the water in front of you so you remember.
Be prepared for a sugar low with a snack you can carry with you. Even if you do not need it, your diabetic walking buddy might. You could be a real life saver.
Carrying your blood glucose monitor is a good idea too.
Watch for blood sugar lows for a while after you walk, more so in the beginning weeks of your new exercise routine.
They used to tell us to stretch first, walk after. But physical therapists have corrected what used to be one of the more common diabetic walking mistakes.
Now they say that if you stretch cold muscles you'll hurt yourself. It's best to walk around for a few minutes first to loosen and warm up your muscles.
After the warm-up you can do some stretches. Here are a couple I like.
Sit down or lean against a wall and roll your ankles a few times. Swing your arms wide and twist at your waist a bit. Hold your arms out to the sides and make circles.
Stretch one arm over your head and lean to the other side, then switch to the other arm eight or ten times. Lean your head from side to side and front to back, but don't roll your head in a big circle.
There are lots of good leg stretching videos online. Watch a few and try them. After stretches it is time to start walking.
Some of these diabetic walking mistakes can lead to injury, or at least make walking less effective exercise. Watching your feet while you walk is a dangerous habit.
It hurts your neck and shoulders. Even worse, people who watch their feet when they walk are more likely to fall. It sounds odd, but it is true.
Older diabetics have bad balance and that may make you afraid you will fall, but watching your feet is a terrible idea. What can you do now if it has become a habit?
Carry a walking stick to give you confidence. Make yourself walk with your chin up and your eyes on the horizon and you will be much less likely to fall.
It might be hard to stop the habit of looking down, but you will be surprised how much better you feel with your chin up. You might even smile more.
Another bad habit is leaning forward. It hurts your back and legs. Make yourself stand tall, and your balance will be better. The walking stick will help you at first if it is hard to stand straight.
It is tempting to try to walk faster by over-striding, kicking your front foot too far ahead. The leg that will help you walk faster is actually the one you push off with from behind.
Concentrate on getting a good push off with your back leg, and you can walk faster with good balance.
Diabetic walking mistakes include your arms. No, you don't walk with them but what you do with your arms can help or hinder good walking posture.
Not using your arms at all is a mistake. You need to swing your arms with your stride, elbows bent and close to your sides.
Don't swing your arms too wide. That's what is called "chicken winging" and it is not helpful. Keep your elbows in close and swing those arms in a natural way.
Keeping ourselves out of trouble by avoiding diabetic walking mistakes is a high priority for type 2 diabetics. That's because it takes longer for us to bounce back from things like leg cramps and foot ulcers.
If you cannot walk there are many other things you can do - swimming, biking, chair exercises - to keep moving toward the diabetic cure of a healthy diet and exercise.
But if you can do it, walking is a wonderful and simple way to get stronger and feel better.
Don't forget to celebrate the small steps forward you are making. They should not go by unnoticed. Real change is not easy, so ignore the voices that discourage you. Do not let anyone "despise the day of small things." (Zechariah 4:10)
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