Any form of exercise is better than living a sedentary life. Among all forms of exercise, walking is perhaps the most popular. Many other exercises may have gained media coverage but none of them compete walking in the number of participants. It is the only exercise where the number of walkers increases as they age.
People walk for many reasons; as a pleasure activity, to find solace, and of course for keeping themselves fit and increase their longevity. In this modern age of lifestyle diseases, walking has attained new respect as an easy means to regain fitness in general and better control of certain diseases like diabetes in particular.
Since centuries exercise was recommended as most effective therapy for controlling diabetes. Like diet and medication, exercise is beneficial only if it becomes a part of daily lifestyle. Remember to choose an exercise that interests you as well as suits your health when it comes to controlling diabetes.
Diabetics should always select light exercises appropriate to maintain fitness. Improve flexibility with light stretching exercises and then carry on with main exercises. Exercise time should be increased slowly and gradually till you have achieved a fitness level and are able to exercise without feeling tired.
Treadmill is a good option for people who prefer exercising at home. Walking is a good choice for people who like outdoors.
Benefits Of Walking And Exercise For Diabetics
Walking is perhaps the best moderate form of exercise for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Long-term benefits can be reaped by regular and brisk walking.
- It is beneficial because brisk walking for 30 to 40 minutes in a day lowers plasma glucose by enhancing the entry of glucose into the muscle cells.
- 30 minutes of brisk walking may bring down the blood glucose level down by 20mg/dl. The best time to walk is definitely early in the morning.
- It augments the tissue sensitivity to insulin in type 2 diabetes. Thus it pushes more glucose from the bloodstream into the muscle cells. In this way walking reduces the level of glucose in the blood.
- Walking also increases the demand of muscles for glucose. It is simple, working muscles require more energy than lax muscles. The energy which is required is sourced from the glucose circulating in the blood.
- Regular brisk walking is especially beneficial for obese who are diabetic. The energy that is utilized during walking helps to reduce weight. The cells in obese may have few insulin receptors, thus less glucose is utilized. The cells in thin individual may have more insulin receptors thus more glucose from the blood is transferred into the cells.
- Diabetics have increased risk of suffering from atherosclerosis (high cholesterol level in blood). Walking reduces elevated cholesterol in the blood by increasing the amount of HDL (high density of lipoprotein). HDL is good cholesterol. It also reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
- Walking also lowers blood pressure. Thus the risk of heart attack and stroke is considerably reduced. Moreover walking improves the circulation in the extremities.