A number of studies show a regular walking program can help control diabetes. In addition to other diabetes management strategies, moderate exercise is key to controlling blood sugar levels.
The Diabetes Prevention Program, a landmark research study, found that 150 minutes of walking exercise helps people with prediabetes lose around seven percent of their body weight and significantly reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Another study found that walking might be more beneficial to protect against diabetes than running. Researchers at Duke University found a brisk walking exercise program covering at least 13.8 miles a week improved glucose tolerance more than jogging.
Commentators that suffer from diabetes have confirmed similar results. One real-life account reports that walking lowered his blood sugar by approximately one mg/dl per minute.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes don’t ignore it. Prediabetes can still cause premature death or associated diseases such as nerve damage, blindness, and amputation.
Whilst prediabetes is easier to manage and treat, if left unrestrained, there’s a higher risk of it developing into full-blown Type II diabetes which is significantly harder to treat.
Walking Program for Prediabetes
Of all the ways to exercise with diabetes, brisk walking has been found to deliver the best results. It’s also a great way to explore nature and enjoy city green spaces.
Experts recommend 10,000 -15,000 steps, five days a week is the optimum step count for a walking exercise program.
However, if you have been inactive for some time, start slowly and listen to your body. If you feel aches and pains in your legs or ankles, take a rest and head back home.
Like most forms of exercise, studies show that a structured walking exercise program is required for treating prediabetes. Until you get an idea of how exercise affects your blood sugar, do not venture too far from home and take a chocolate bar or glucose tablets with you.
Walking typically lowers your blood sugar so you will need to adjust your medications. Eating a light snack before you exercise may also be an option.
Stepping It Up
Once you understand your baseline, step up your walking exercise in increments. Use a pedometer or walking app on your smartphone to count your steps.
Try adding 1000 more steps each week until you hit your maximum. Experts recommend 45-minute walking sessions. You can also break this into three shorter walks after mealtimes.
An easy-to-moderate pace is also recommended rather than a brisk walk. About 2-3 mph is sufficient. If you want to make your walking exercise more challenging, walk up hills or carry weights in a rucksack.
A Diabetes Care study also found interval walking – picking up your pace in spurts – is also thought to help lower blood sugar levels more than walking at a continuous pace.
Before you start a walking exercise program consult your doctor. You may also want to consider working with a personal trainer who can help you safely gauge your limits and accompany you until you feel you can exercise solo.