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Diabetes and Walking

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My mom started walking in that little living space that we had in our apartment ten years ago when she visited us. She was very religious about her walks after each meal for at least thirty minutes rain or shine. When I was young I found it amusing the way she walked so fast. I watched her walk all her life after meals. At times I was irritated by the fact she didn't mind walking in small spaces.

I have never seen my mom take more than half hour naps in the afternoons or sleep past seven in the mornings. She always did something to keep herself physically active. "Some day you will know why I do what I do," she would tell me. I wish my mom encouraged me to exercise but she didn't; I took everything for granted including my health.

Recently I found out that walking for at least fifteen minutes after meals actually kept my blood sugars from spiking up. This was a revelation for me. Three years after my mother died I took on her place. Now I walk after my meals back and forth in the house. I don't mind my sons' complaining that I am in the middle of their television-watching at nights. My dog faithfully walks beside me even in the house. It's so cute to watch her follow me around the house. Sometimes she runs in front of me to my destination and waits for me only to run before me again when I turn back.

It is not easy to be active all the time when we have diabetes. Oftentimes it is difficult to get up from where we are to start exercising. Our blood sugars play a major role in keeping ourselves active. Sometimes when sugars are up we feel so sleepy and lazy that no matter what we do, we cannot get ourselves motivated. In those times it helps if we just make an effort to fetch a glass of cold water and drink it up. I do this on purpose because it wakes me up. The urge to urinate after drinking water makes us get up from where we are, and once we are up we can start walking. Our physical activity also depends on the quality of food we eat. I notice the days I eat more carbs I feel lazy more than the days I just eat a simple meal of a ham/turkey sandwich or salad.

I wake up sometimes with a bad headache because my sugars go low in the middle of the night when I am fast asleep. This could be dangerous if we don't watch ourselves because low blood sugars also make us sleepy. My heart medications come in the way of my true blood sugars and give false indications. We need to watch and check our sugar levels right before we go to bed so we are aware of our situation. When I wake up with headaches, it is particularly hard for me to become active during the day. On those days I put extra effort to get my shoes on and walk around the neighborhood right after breakfast and lunch even if it is strolling on the sidewalks.

My rule of walking is simple. Just walk no matter what you feel like. Most of the times walking is therapeutic. We don't need to walk a marathon; We can stroll, we can be taking lazy steps, we can just walk in the backyard. We don't necessarily need to bring our heart rates up everytime we walk. We just walk. For us diabetics, our heart problems come most of the times because of blood sugar levels. So for me, if I could keep sugars close to normal I am helping my heart. That doesn't mean we have to totally ignore our hearts. We should make sure at least once a day we walk moderate to faster speeds to keep our heart rates up for a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes. The rest of the times we just walk so we take care of our sugars. My take on this issue is, if my mom could do with the limited knowledge and education she had, I can do it with all the health information at my disposal including my education in the health field. That's all! Because, 'OUR LIFE MATTERS'.

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I think the awarness has to start for everyone in some way or another. I finally walked into my local LA Fitness and had the pleasure of meeting one of its vice presidents Lance Yates this week. He took the time to explain so many things about my body and health that I never knew. It was very inlighting to what control I have over my health. Try going into your local LA Fitness for help...hopefully you will get the pleasure of meeting Lance too.

April 10, 2011 - 9:45pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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