Pro pointers to set up a walking plan

To stay fit, manage your blood sugar and keep your weight under control, you should have a walking plan. Here are some pointers to help you get started and stay active.

Pro pointers to set up a walking plan

The first steps on your journey to health

  • Start with five minutes a day and add another five minutes a week.
  • You may not walk every day, but on those "wild card" days when you don't walk, substitute any physical activity you want instead of walking, from playing ball with the kids to raking the yard. It's all about staying active. It'll keep you healthy and on your feet.
  • Remember, if your walking plan seems too easy, feel free to add more minutes.
  • Be sure to decide on a schedule before you start, then post it on your refrigerator or write it in your calendar. Committing to a schedule greatly increases your chances of carrying through.

Walking with diabetes

Walking is one of the safest forms of exercise, but when you have diabetes, complications such as nerve damage and impaired circulation can put your feet at risk for serious damage. You shouldn't avoid walking, but you should take the following precautions to keep your feet healthy.

  • Check your feet every day. If you have nerve damage, you could have sores, cuts, swelling or infection that you can't feel.
  • Avoid cracked skin and reduce the risk of infection by towelling your feet off thoroughly after bathing, including between your toes. Rub lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of your feet to keep them moist, and sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch between your toes to prevent fungal growth.
  • Trim your toenails at least once a week after bathing, cutting straight across the nails and smoothing them with a nail file or emery board.
  • Always wear socks and shoes. Socks should be seamless to avoid pressure points and friction, and shoes are best made of leather, which conforms to your feet and breathes to keep them drier.
  • Wiggle your toes for five minutes two or three times a day to boost blood circulation to your feet. Avoid tight elastic socks, don't cross your legs for long periods of time and put your feet up when you're sitting.

Whether you have diabetes or you just want to get fit, walking has the power to transform your health even if you just do five minutes a day.

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