Can Brisk Walking Be Beneficial For People With Diabetes?

By Manav Sodhi +2 more

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic metabolic disease that affects how our body uses glucose. 

It mainly occurs when the pancreas can no longer release enough insulin for the body or when the body cannot make proper use of the insulin the pancreas produces.

Diabetes increases the possible risk of various complications like diabetic eye disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease and strokes.

While medicine and doctors’ consultation are definitely essential to manage diabetes, research studies show that the benefits of physical activity are undeniable when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels in check. This includes walking, workout, power walks, brisk walking and yoga. 

What is a Brisk Walk?

Brisk walk or walking at a brisk (active and energetic) pace basically refers to walking faster than the usual pace of a walk or stroll. To call a walk a ‘brisk’ or a power walk, an individual must have an increased heartbeat and breathing rate while walking.  

Preparations for Brisk Walking

Before you get started, you must note a few things for successful brisk walking:

  • Walking shoes and socks: You need to protect your feet and prevent developing blisters or sores. Wearing fitted, flat and flexible athletic shoes is the best for brisk walking. Avoid cotton socks and tube socks. Choose athletic socks or diabetic socks made of sweat-wicking polyester fibre.
  • Walking clothes: You must wear clothes that allow you to move freely. You need to wear clothes to prevent chafing, which can lead to sores. Wear a fitness T-shirt and fitness shorts, warm-up pants or yoga pants. Sweat-wicking polyester fabric is preferred over cotton.
  • Where to walk: You can use a treadmill for your walking workout. If you prefer to walk outside, you should look for a walking route or a greenway path or a park with a walking loop.
  • Do a foot check: If you are a diabetic patient, it is best to check your feet before and after each walk. You may not feel blisters and hot spots, which could develop into ulcers if not treated.

Walking Workout Techniques for Brisk Walking

There are certain walking workout techniques that one must follow to make the most out of their brisk walk. This includes:

  • Looking forward, not down while walking.
  • Relaxing the neck, back and shoulders, and not leaning or slouching forward.
  • Keeping the back straight and engaging the abdominal muscles.
  • Walking steadily and rolling the foot from heel to toe.
  • Swinging the arms loosely or by pumping the arms a little while walking.

Benefits of Walking Every Day at a Brisk Pace for People with Diabetes

Below listed are the advantages or benefits of walking every day at a brisk pace for people with diabetes: 

  1. Helps with Weight Loss

Brisk walks can help you lose excess weight or fat in your body by burning more calories. It increases lean muscle mass and boosts your fitness level, which in turn also helps deal with the risk of other lifestyle disorders like obesity.

  1. Helps to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Regular brisk walks can help reduce the risks of various cardiovascular or heart diseases, like narrowing of arteries, chest pains, heart attacks or strokes, and more by improving cardiovascular health as it brings up the heart rate.

  1. Deals with High Blood Pressure

Another benefit of walking every day at a brisk pace is that it helps manage high blood pressure by reducing the stiffness of the blood vessels, which makes it easier for blood to flow. 

  1. Handles Blood Sugar (or Glucose) Levels

Regular brisk walking can help increase insulin (a hormone released by the pancreas) sensitivity. This means that the blood cells become better at utilising insulin for drawing in glucose for energy. 

  1. Improving Mental Health

Brisk walking also helps improve an individual’s mental health by improving their sleep, boosting self-esteem, and building brainpower.  It increases blood circulation in the brain and body, which reduces stress levels.

Recommended Minimum Duration of Brisk Walking for People with Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, 30 minutes of brisk walking for five days every week is necessary to deal with diabetes. Involve at least 20 minutes of frequent brisk walking at a pace of 15 to 20 minutes per mile (3 to 4 mph) in your 30 minutes of walking goal.

Conclusion

Brisk walking is the best walking workout to manage diabetes. If you are still in doubt, consult your doctor or healthcare provider to know the best physical activity for your body and the advantages of brisk walking for diabetic people. It is advisable to carry a source of fast-acting glucose ( fruit juice, glucose tablets) while going on a walk to manage an episode of hypoglycemia that may occur.

Thus, it can be concluded that regular walking workouts such as brisk walking or power walking can assist in dealing with a wide range of mental and physical health issues, including diabetes. 

So, start your day with a short, brisk, power walk today! This will definitely keep you energetic throughout the day and keep your weight in check. 

Be sure to stretch a bit before and after you do your brisk walk. Drink water to stay hydrated. 

Consistency, in this case, is essential. With time, you will observe how doing brisk walks can help you improve your diabetes situation. 

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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