EveryDay Steps to a Great Walking Program
One of the best ways to manage type 2 diabetes is with a walking program. But it’s often hard to begin. Here, from the Diabetes Hands Foundation and AstraZeneca, is a program, EveryDay Steps, that can help you get started walking and keep going:
Set a Goal – Before you begin, talk to your doctor about the EveryDay Steps program, and what goal is right for you. Use a pedometer, a wrist monitor, or a smartphone device to see how well you’re doing in meeting your walking goals. Feeling competitive? You and a friend can compare results either in person or via email or social media.
Build Up Gradually – Don’t be discouraged if you can’t walk for too long. Making walking into a routine will help it become easier.
Invite a Friend – A walking partner can help you keep going – and if you are taking your pet with you, the foundation advises, use a retractable leash so you can keep pumping your arms as you walk.
Add a Soundtrack – Make a list of your favorite upbeat songs to put on your iPod or other mp3 device. Fast music is a great motivator!
Keep Up the Pace – the Diabetes Hands Foundation says that the U.S. Surgeon General advises walking fast enough to keep your heart rate up. The foundation says you’re doing that if you can talk while you walk, but not sing. Ask your doctor what speed is right for you.
Reward Yourself – A healthy snack or sugar-free drink are great post-walk options.
Write It Down – A one- or two-sentence “commitment contract” can act as a gentle reminder of what you have promised yourself. Share your contract with friends and family.
Try New Routes – Don’t always walk the same route. Try exploring other neighborhoods. If you don’t have a lot of variety, try walking around your high school’s sports track, or your local indoor mall.
Walk for Others – Sign up for a charity walk for a cause that’s important to you. Each October, you can incorporate the Diabetes Hands Foundation’s Big Blue Test (www.bigbluetest.org) into your walking program. Every time you participate, the foundation makes a donation on your behalf to nonprofit groups that are providing services to people in need with diabetes. Plus, participants in the Test report an average blood sugar drop of 20 percent after just 14 to 20 minutes of the test.
The EveryDay Steps guide (https://www.everydaystepsguide.com) was codeveloped by the Diabetes Hands Foundation (www.diabeteshandsfoundation.org) and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (www.astrazeneca.com).