With type 1 diabetes it is important to make adjustments to your supplemental insulin and food intake to match the type, time, and intensity of your physical activity. Proper planning and monitoring of your insulin and food intake, with the addition of physical activity, can have a positive effect on your blood sugar levels over time.
A great way to ease into a new fitness routine is to start with daily walks. Walking can be done almost anywhere, costs nothing and requires only running shoes. While starting a new walking routine, it is important to keep a few tips in mind. Please see our walking tips below, and remember that if you are having any issues with your feet while walking, or have questions about your footwear, that our LMC chiropodists are always here to help and educate you.
1. Evaluate your footwear: Running shoes should always be worn to protect your feet when walking. However, many foot ulcers start with rubbing from ill-fitting shoes. This is why it is extremely important that your shoes fit well, and don’t cause any abnormal pressure on your feet. Properly fitted shoes should fit both the width and length of your feet, and allow room for the free movement of your toes. If you have any lack of sensation in your feet (because of neuropathy, for example), it may be difficult to judge how well your shoes fit. Neuropathy may also reduce your ability to sense any friction caused by the seams in your shoes and socks. Your LMC Chiropodist can examine your shoes to make sure they are fitting you correctly, and also make recommendations for proper footwear if needed.
2. Start your day with a daily foot inspection: Take time to inspect your feet every day. Look at the tops and bottoms of your feet as well as between your toes each day. This small step to your routine could save you from future problems that could not only affect your feet, but your overall health. Please check with your LMC Chiropodist if you find a change that concerns you.
3. Take it one step at a time: A good way to start something new is to take it slow. Setting achievable walking goals for yourself and slowly building up your walking time, will make your goals less daunting. If you don’t walk at all right now, make a goal to walk one minute per day. Next week, walk two minutes per day, and so on.
4. Check your blood sugar levels: While starting a new walking routine, it is crucial to check your blood sugar levels, before, during and after your first few walks. You may find that you need to adjust your insulin dosage depending on the length and intensity of your walk.
5. Take a snack: It is always a good idea to bring a healthy snack with you while going out for a walk. If your blood sugar starts to drop, you will have a snack on hand to get your levels under control fast. Try bringing an apple, a small box of juice, or glucose tablets with you in case your sugar levels drop while walking.
6. Make a walking schedule: An easy way to remind yourself to walk daily, is to schedule it on your calendar. Adding a walking reminder to your calendar can not only serve as a daily reminder, but it is also a great way to ensure you do not over-schedule yourself.
7. Get yourself a pedometer: Pedometers are a great motivational tool for promoting physical activity. They allow you to track your goals and challenge yourself to increase your overall fitness level. Engaging in regular daily fitness, such as walking, has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improve your overall health.
8. Sneak walking in: If you’re not into planning exercise, there are still easy ways to get more walking into your routine. You can park farther away when you go to the store, take the stairs instead when possible, and take walking breaks with colleagues at work. Sneaking walking into your routine will make getting to your goals a lot easier.
9. Make walking fun: There are many things you can do to pass the time while walking. Calling family members or friends is a great way to catch up with them, while also improving your fitness. Listening to music or audiobooks are also great ways to keep yourself moving.
Chiropody in-clinic appointments are available at the following LMC locations: