Walking is essential for people with diabetes because it helps lower blood sugar levels and maintains them at an optimal level with regular practice. Moreover, a morning walk is especially beneficial because it capitalises on one of the peak glucose release parts of the day. In this blog post, we will explain this in more detail and get into the background of how diabetes works so that you can understand why walking is essential and why a morning walk is important for diabetes control.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a state where there are dangerously high glucose levels in an individual’s blood or a high blood sugar level. This can result in dizziness and fainting in the short term and far worse complications in a long time, such as heart attack, stroke, neuropathy, and wounds that do not heal.
A diabetic’s goal should be to reduce glucose or blood sugar and maintain it at optimal levels. Typically, your body also produces insulin to use up and regulate the glucose in your blood. Still, in type 2 diabetes, the individual’s cells use this insulin poorly, resulting in the glucose staying in the bloodstream.
Also Read: Know the Early Symptoms of Diabetes
What happens when you walk?
This section is essential for motivating yourself to walk and understanding why a morning walk is important for diabetes patients. Pay close attention. When you perform any form of exercise or exert – even moderately – your body uses up glucose to enable you to achieve the said task. When you eat, your blood sugar levels typically spike, settling down after a little while, once your body has completed all the digesting your food and distributing the nutrients. That’s why people recommend that 30 minutes after eating is an excellent time to go for a walk.
However, it would be best if you also considered a few other factors.
For example, between 3 am, and 8 am, the human body starts releasing glucose to prepare for the new day and many bodily tasks (even if you lead a sedentary lifestyle). A morning walk can help regulate blood sugar levels by reducing glucose levels to normal at the very start of the day.
Meals, the stress of the day, and exertion getting to and from work or even getting jobs around the house done can impact your blood glucose. You could have a spike or a dip. Exercise is not recommended (and is, in fact, dangerous) in either situation – high or low blood sugar – and that’s why a morning walk is important for diabetes control and maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
There’s more: when you have type 2 diabetes, you have insulin resistance. However, in the early mornings, your body tends to release hormones that reduce your resistance and intolerance to insulin being produced by your cells. In other words, they might be geared to use it better to break down glucose. It’s like a well-oiled machine being fitted into a car every morning. Yet another reason why a morning walk is important for diabetes treatment, indeed ideal.
Whichever type of diabetes you have, another reason why a morning walk is important for diabetes-affected individuals is the fact that, if you are on medication, the effect of the previous day’s dose is probably wearing off the following day, meaning that you have plenty of disposable blood sugar to use as fuel for a brisk walk.
Another reason why a morning walk is preferable is that nothing can usually “come up” at that hour of the day that prevents you from sticking to your daily routine (which is essential in diabetes treatment). In the evening, you could get stuck in a meeting; your kids or grandkids could be throwing a tantrum; you might not be in the mood if you’ve had a bad day, and so on.
The Somogyi Effect, where your blood pressure drops very low in the night from varying factors like restless sleep and nightmares, and your body tries to compensate by having your liver release all its stored glucose, could result in a blood pressure spike in the mornings – again, this means you should try to use up that blood sugar.
Points to keep in mind before your morning walk
You might be very convinced about why a morning walk is important for diabetes treatment, but before you go marching out of the door in your walking shoes, do consider the following precautions:
- High endurance workouts could cause a spike in blood sugar. Start slow and easy.
- If you are entirely new to exercising and on medication for diabetes, be sure to check with your doctor if your prescription needs to be adjusted to accommodate higher blood glucose usage and expenditure.
- High stress releases additional glucose. Avoid walking around areas (or people) that make you feel stressed.
- Always check your blood sugar before and after your walk and maintain notes on your phone or maintain a journal.
- If you have never been a walker in life and are only just beginning, it might be good to check your blood sugar at regular intervals.
- Exercise needs to be regular, or you might experience a spike in blood sugar levels when you stop abruptly.
- If your blood sugar is high – above 300mg/dl – do not go for a walk. Wait for your blood sugar to normalize.
- If your blood sugar is low – less than 100mg/dl – speak to your doctor about whether you should eat something to bring your blood sugar back to normal.
Keep up the excellent work if you have already begun.