4 Reasons Why Type 2s Should Start a Walking Plan!

It’s officially Spring and with that comes all sorts of incentives to get outside; better weather, the promise of more sunshine and of course National Walk in the Park Day! March 30th is the annual observance of National Take a Walk in the Park Day. So how can you celebrate this Wednesday? Here are 4 reasons why type 2s should get walking on March 30th, and keep moving through April.

1) Maintain Regular Fitness with Type 2 

Walking 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of many conditions including heart disease, depression, obesity and osteoporosis, while also improving glucose control!  We know that exercise helps our muscles absorb sugar, and daily exercise over time can help type 2s prevent buildup in our bloodstream. 

Use National Take a Walk in the Park Day to kick off a month long walking routine! The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equal combination of moderate and vigorous activity.  This is key to the overall health of people with type 2.

Make a plan to take a 30 minute walk, 5 days a week for a month. Start on March 30th and continue it through April! Challenge yourself to get outside in the fresh air.  Give yourself this 30 minutes a day. 

  • Pick your days of the week and set aside the time.
  • Reach out to your family or friends to join.
  • Put on your sunscreen and a hat.
  • Set out your walking shoes, outfit and a big bottle of water.

How much should a person with diabetes walk a day?

Type 2 diabetics should include every day exercise into their routines for better overall health and to lose or maintain healthy weight. For most people 10,000 steps a day is a great general goal and studies show this can help with weight loss.  However, if you haven’t been active it’s important to work your way up to this goal.  Depending on your age, and fitness level this goal might not necessarily be the right fit. The average American is currently walking 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles. If this is your average, start working your way up to 10,000 steps by adding 1,000 steps/day every one-two weeks. 

For example: 

Week 1,2 - 5,000/day

Week 3,4 - 6,000/day

Week 4,5 - 7,000/day

Week 6,7 - 8,000/day

Week 8,9 - 9,000/day

Week 10,11- 10,000/day

Healthy changes and routines don’t happen overnight, but over time. But, before you know it the 10,000 goal could be your norm! It is important to listen to your body along the way and consult your doctor if any pain or discomfort is caused from walking more.*Before starting a new physical health plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you're older than age 40 and you've been inactive recently.

Tip: Many people find that tracking their steps is a motivator and helps to gauge your activity every day. Fitness trackers/pedometers come in a variety of forms and price ranges. Find a pedometer that is right for you. The average adult measures about 2,000 steps per mile and a usual pace of 3-4 miles per hour. Read more about starting out counting your daily steps. 

*Before starting a new physical health plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you're older than age 40 and you've been inactive recently.

2) Be Social AND Socially Responsible During 2022

Get walking to be outside and be social. One of our biggest losses this last year was losing our ability to gather safely. The good news is that walking in the park is a low-risk social activity with great benefits for people with type 2 diabetes! 

Having a friend join or making new friends walking increases motivation, and accountability to continue your plan and stick with it. You can push and challenge each other throughout the month, exchanging ideas and hopefully some good air high-five’s!

In addition to motivation and accountability, your chats during the walk will cause your body to burn more calories, increase your metabolism and boost your mood! Who doesn’t want this bonus in their 30 minute pick me up?

Tip: Find a walking group. Search the internet for type 2 diabetes weight loss groups like Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together

3) Spend Time with Your Family

Many of us have been working, socializing and interacting on screens from seated positions for the last year and a half.  Hopefully you have had some quality time with your family, but much of it has been in the house. It’s time to break out for some walks!

This excessive time indoors can inhibit motor skills, cause eye problems, and weight gain. 

Engaging in healthy activities like a 30 minute walk each day, will improve mental and physical health, reduce stress, boost self confidence and help foster healthier relationships. 

Family walks can give you the quality time to foster better interpersonal skills, bringing you closer together and develop better communication, while helping to keep your type 2 diabetes in control. 

4) Support your National, State, and County Parks!

Our parks give us a safe, affordable (or free), beautiful place to be able to appreciate nature while we nurture our health. On National Take a Walk in the Park Day, look for ways you can give back to your park systems through volunteering, or donations. 

The National Recreation and Park Association states that, “Parks and public lands serve an essential role in preserving natural resources and wildlife habitats, protecting clean water and clean air, and providing open space for current and future generations. Parks provide an essential connection for Americans of all ages and abilities to the life‐enhancing benefits of nature and the outdoors.” 

Our parks are a treasure, get out and enjoy them!

This month, find new routes to take.  Sure we all love our tried and true path, but it can become repetitive. Try the road less taken! Work with your buddy(ies) to find new trails, and new parks. This plan should be a journey and an adventure!

Final thoughts….

What time of day is best to walk….?

Although walking isn’t just for weight loss - an article published by TIME confirms that working out in the morning — especially on an empty stomach — is the best way to burn stored fat, making it ideal for weight loss. That’s largely because the body’s hormonal composition in the morning is set up to support that goal, says Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. However, the beauty of walking is that you can do it anytime, any place! The best time for us to walk is whenever will work consistently.

Should diabetics eat before walking?

Each person is different. Some people prefer to eat after they exercise and others enjoy a light snack before a workout. According to Diabetes UK, “A slice of malt loaf, a yogurt or a piece of fruit, such as banana, are good examples of pre- and post-walk snacks. But if you have diabetes, the amount and type of food you will need when walking will depend on when you last ate, how hungry you are and your blood sugar levels.”

For more information on healthy living and controlling and treating diabetes, join our free diabetes support group: Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together. Get out there on Wednesday, March 30th for National Take a Walk in the Park Day and share your photos with us #TakeAWalkInTheParkDay! . Continue your walking plan through the month to maximize your health, family and community benefits and share in the love of our park systems!