Nancy Nelson

Nancy Nelson

Meadowlark Extension District

Experts agree that walking is one of the best exercises for people with diabetes. It is relaxing, easy, can be done almost anywhere, and is highly effective at controlling blood glucose levels.

If you have diabetes, there are important things to consider before you start. In addition to general physical activity recommendations, here are specific considerations.

Get approval from your healthcare provider for any new exercise program. They can also point out special precautions you should take based on the type of diabetes you have.

Wear the right shoes. Foot health is extra important for anyone with diabetes. It can be hard to detect blisters, abrasion, and skin breaks because foot numbness is a symptom of diabetes. Shoes should fit comfortably, have plenty of room in the toe area, and should not rub at the heel.

Socks are important, too. Avoid cotton socks that bunch up and retain moisture. Choose socks that wick away sweat and prevent blisters.

Be prepared. Wear a diabetes ID bracelet or something to alert others that you have diabetes. Carry glucose pills or an appropriate snack in case your blood sugar drops.

Ask your doctor when you should check blood glucose levels related to exercise (before, during, or after). Be aware that insulin requirements will change with exercise. Do a foot check after each walking session.

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