Staying physically active plays a major role in managing diabetes. Walking is a simple and effective way to keep yourself moving. But did you know that walking in the morning is more beneficial for diabetics? Read on to know how.
“Early to bed, and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.”
You all must be familiar with this saying, but have you given deeper thought to it? Having a fixed schedule where you go to bed at a regular time, wake up early and perform any physical activity can be beneficial to your overall health. Walking increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin and reduces your risk of heart disease and nerve damage. If you are a diabetic, walking should be on the top of your workout plan as it helps in controlling your blood sugar levels. Let us find out why walking is good for diabetics.
Though being thirsty is normal, but excessive thirst or being thirsty throughout the day is something that needs attention. With polydipsia, you may feel thirsty all the time. Let’s take a look at the causes, symptoms, and management of polydipsia.
Walking and Diabetes: Why is it Important?
Diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are above normal. It can occur as a result of an imbalance in the hormone insulin (a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels) or when your cells develop resistance to insulin. This affects your body’s ability to convert glucose or sugar into energy and thus elevates the sugar levels in your blood.
While performing any kind of physical activity, your body uses up glucose by converting it into energy. Early in the morning, especially during the time between 2 to 8 am, your blood sugar levels tend to spike up. It is related to the natural hormonal changes in the body that occurs in the morning and is called the dawn phenomenon. This will not have a significant effect on a person without diabetes. However, if you have diabetes, it can cause a considerable change in your blood sugar levels.
A brisk walk early in the morning will help you bring down your glucose levels to normal. It also helps in making your cells more sensitive to the action of insulin. Therefore, if you are a diabetic, going for a morning walk regularly is like fitting a well-oiled machine in your car every day.
What You Should Know Before Your Morning Walk
Before marching out, keep these in mind:
Consult Your Doctor
If you are new to exercising, consult your doctor before starting your morning walk.
Avoid high endurance workouts (fast or fit walks) as they can cause a sudden drop in your blood sugar. You can start slow and increase your pace gradually.
Monitor Your Sugar Levels
Make sure to check your blood sugar before and after your walk. If your blood sugar levels are too low, you will have to eat some food before you take a walk. In case your blood sugar is too high you will need to wait until it drops.
Do a Warm-Up
You can start walking at an easy pace for the first 3 to 5 minutes. This will help you warm up. Then you can speed up to a brisk pace for the next 20 to 25 minutes.
Don’t Forget to Cool Down
Avoid stopping your walk abruptly. Cool down for 1 to 3 minutes by walking at a slow pace before you end your walk.
Take Care of Your Feet While Walking
Walking is one of the safest exercises for people of all ages. However, diabetics should take extra care of their feet while walking as their feet are more prone to diabetic wounds. With diabetes, your wounds heal slowly and infection can set in quickly. This is because uncontrolled diabetes can damage your peripheral nerves and also affect the functioning of your immune system. This slows down healing and increases the risk of infections. Therefore, keep the following tips in mind while walking:
- Wear well-fitting shoes while walking and always remember to wear socks.
- Examine your feet after the walk for any cuts or scrapes.
- Wash your feet twice every day with warm water and soap.
- After washing, pat dry with a soft towel.
- Moisturize your feet every day to avoid dryness.
These measures will help in preventing wounds and other related complications. In case you notice any wound on your feet, especially under the big toe (a common site for a diabetic wound), make sure to consult your doctor.
What is the Best Time to Walk for Diabetes?
As early mornings are the time when your blood sugar levels peak, scheduling your walk early in the morning would be beneficial for diabetics. Those who find it difficult to plan a morning walk can aim to walk for at least 15 minutes post every meal. This will help control the post-meal hike in your blood sugar.
How Much Walking Should a Diabetic do?
If you are a beginner, you can aim for 15 to 30 minutes of walking or about 2500 steps in a day. As you improve your stamina, you can increase the time and the number of steps each day. You can aim to walk for at least 5 days a week.
What are the Other Benefits of Walking?
Other benefits of walking are:
- It is convenient and does not require special equipment or a particular location.
- Brisk walking helps build stamina, burn calories, and strengthen your heart.
- It can improve your sleep quality.
- It is an exercise that is easy on the joints.
- It helps relieve stress and promotes emotional wellbeing.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are above normal. It can occur as a result of an imbalance in the hormone insulin (a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels) or when your cells develop resistance to insulin.
- Early in the morning, especially the time between 2 to 8 am, your blood sugar levels tend to spike up. It is related to the natural hormonal changes in the body that occur in the morning.
- Walking early in the morning will help you manage this rise in your blood sugar levels. A brisk walk in the morning will help in bringing down your glucose levels to normal.
- It also helps in making your cells more sensitive to the action of insulin.
- Make sure to check your blood sugar before and after your walk. If your blood sugar levels are too low, you will have to have some food before you take a walk. In case your blood sugar is too high you will need to wait until it drops.
- Make sure to take care of your feet while walking to prevent diabetic wounds.
- If you are a beginner you can aim for 15 to 30 minutes of walking or about 2500 steps in a day. As you improve your stamina, you can increase the time and the number of steps each day. You can aim to walk at least 5 days a week.
- Walking is also beneficial for your heart health. It helps build your stamina and improves muscle and bone health.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Friendly Asked Questions
Your blood sugar levels tend to spike during the morning hours. Taking a 30-minute brisk walk in the morning can help manage this increase in blood sugar levels and also help in making your cells more sensitive to the action of insulin.
Staying active plays a major role in managing diabetes. Walking is one of the best exercises that you can choose if you are a diabetic. It helps your cells utilize insulin more efficiently, thereby, bringing down your blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that cannot be reversed or cured. However, it can be managed well with a healthy diet, regular exercise and medications.
Walking is considered the best exercise for diabetics. Try to walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.
Certain high-impact workouts such as running and jumping are contraindicated in diabetics, especially in those with peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the extremities). These workouts can increase the risk of diabetic wounds and infection. High-intensity workouts may also cause a sudden drop in your blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). It can lead to undesirable symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and fatigue.