Type 2 diabetes happens when the level of sugar in the blood is too high.
If blood sugar is too high, it can increase the risk of complications involving the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves.
The condition can be controlled by taking medication, but it’s also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent the risk of complications.
This includes keeping to a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
But having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym to stay healthy.
Instead, doing something as simple as walking more can help keep the condition under control.
Walking briskly can help build stamina, burn excess calories and improve heart health – which are essential in keeping the body healthy.
But, specifically for people with diabetes, being active can also increase the amount of glucose used by the muscles, so may also lower blood sugar, according to Diabetes UK.
In addition, walking can help the body use insulin more effectively.
This is an important benefit for people with type 2 diabetes, as the condition is related to problems with insulin in the body.
The reason people develop type 2 diabetes is because the insulin produced by the pancreas doesn’t work properly, or because the pancreas can’t make enough insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that allows the glucose in the blood to enter the cells and fuel the body.
Without insulin, or if insulin is unable to do it’s job properly, glucose will stay in the blood. This can then lead to serious health problems.
If you take medication to lower blood sugar and want to take up walking, Diabetes UK advises checking blood sugar levels before, during and after walking.
This is because walking vigorously may cause blood sugar levels to drop to a level that is too low.
“Stay safe when you walk. Make sure you carry hypo treatments to use if your blood glucose drops below 4mmol/l,” said Diabetes UK.
“Tell someone your route and make sure you have a diabetes ID on you at all times.”
If you’re walking for over an hour at a vigorous pace, think about having a snack during your walk.
Also make sure you wear socks that don’t rub and wear appropriate footwear that fits well, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing foot problems.
“Everyone with diabetes needs to check their feet daily for any changes. Doing this after a walk is really important, in case of potential damage like blisters and cuts,” said Diabetes UK.
“Anyone who has existing foot problems should speak to their diabetes team before taking up serious walking.”