Why is just walking not enough for people with diabetes?

Why is just walking not enough for people with diabetes?
Written by Medhaavi Mishra

In the last 20 years, diabetes has become a pretty familiar condition worldwide. According to research, 9.3% of the global population is found to have been diagnosed with diabetes. This research also projected an exponential growth in the number of people with diabetes by the next decade. It makes the need for a convenient diabetes control program more important than ever before. Thankfully, now we know that diabetes is not so dangerous if we learn how to effectively manage our blood sugar levels. 

A few minor tweaks in your daily life are enough to take control of your diabetes and lead a normal life. A steady schedule of moderate physical activities and a balanced diet is all you need to control rapid spikes in insulin levels. Walking is one of the most convenient forms of physical activity, which helps to build stamina, burn calories and use insulin more effectively. It can be effective for maintaining your heart health, and thereby managing the symptoms of diabetes. 

Is Just Walking Enough to Manage Diabetes?

While walking can be an effective and convenient physical activity for diabetes patients, it is important to keep in mind that only walking is not sufficient for managing its symptoms. It should be combined with a balanced diet and other physical activities like aerobics, yoga and strength training to start seeing the improvements. 

The following sections have more information about the choices—Diabetes Control Program and various combinations that can be implemented along with walking.

Why is a Comprehensive Diabetes Control Program Essential?

Firstly, you must understand the necessity of a systematic diabetes management program. Upon diagnosing diabetes, your doctor may ask you to avoid certain foods and tell you about the positive effects of walking in diabetes. But do you know how exactly that helps you? 

Well, it all boils down to Glycaemic Index (GI). Each food has a GI rating that indicates how soon your body digests it. Lesser GI rating means it takes more time to digest. At the same time, a higher GI rating indicates that the food is easily digested.  

When you eat food items with a higher GI rating, quick digestion causes a rapid spike in blood insulin levels. Alternatively, foods with lower GI ratings are digested slowly, maintaining moderate insulin levels in the blood. 

Here are a few food items with higher GI ratings – 

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Sugary soft drinks/cola
  • Packaged fruit juices
  • Potato

These are exactly the foods that doctors ask you to avoid when diagnosed with diabetes because the golden rule of controlling diabetes is to prevent any drastic changes in the blood insulin levels.

That is why a well-researched diabetes control program is vital to keeping diabetes under control. A systematic schedule is directed to maintain optimum glucose levels in the blood. This is achieved by introducing certain changes to your regular habits and keeping regular tabs on your blood sugar levels. 

Introducing the following habits is crucial to effectively manage diabetes – 

  1. Exercise
  2. Regular glucose check-ups
  3. Predictable meal times 
  4. Eat whole foods
  5. Skip fast foods

While eating nutritious and healthy food is important, an active lifestyle is vital to regulate blood sugar effectively. More than medications, doctors now encourage people with diabetes to walk and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and reduce blood sugar levels.  

In the next part, we’ll go into more detail on the usefulness of walking and exercising.

How Useful is Walking in Diabetes?

Walking regularly is crucial to maintain good physical health. Especially when you have diabetes, all kinds of physical activity prove greatly advantageous to normalise bodily hormones and enzymes. After all, diabetes is a result of irregular levels of insulin hormones. So, any activity that can stimulate bodily hormones is useful in your fight against diabetes. 

It does not matter if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, walking in diabetes is one of the most effective ways to regulate blood sugar levels in your body. However, you should always be mindful of the following tips to make the most out of your walk – 

  1. Brisk walk – When walking, a leisurely and easy pace might be comfortable. However, to get the most out of it, practice walking in a faster stride to tire your heart a little. It is better if you can break some sweat, as that is the best way to build stamina and strengthen your heart. 
  2. Snacking – Random fluctuation of blood sugar levels is a serious threat for people with diabetes. Therefore, carry some snacks whenever you go for a walk. Frequent snacks are a good way to get some necessary boosts of energy during your walks while also maintaining optimal blood glucose levels. 
  3. Shoes – You should always be properly geared for a walk. Having a pair of proper running shoes is important to support your joints from excessive strain. Also, diabetic neuropathy is a serious condition that may result from not foot-related infections. Therefore, it is important to take good care of your feet regularly. 
  4. Blood glucose monitoring – Since blood glucose levels change occasionally, you should always keep a tab on your sugar levels. Especially when you are engaging in physical activities, glucose levels may alter drastically. Hence, make sure to check your blood glucose levels 2 to 3 times a week. Further, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes must keep a tab on their sugar levels on a daily basis.

Exercise and Yoga to Regulate Diabetes

According to recent studies, physical as well as mental fitness are crucial to an effective diabetes management program. Losing only a few kilograms can do a lot of wonders for diabetes as well as for your overall health. While exercises are useful, keep in mind that not all exercises are suitable for people with diabetes. 

High-intensity exercises might be otherwise good for quick results, yet they may affect your blood sugar levels adversely. When you have diabetes, check with your doctor before actually going with an exercise regime. 

Here are a few safe exercise options you can explore – 

  • Cycling
  • Trekking
  • Swimming
  • Jogging

These exercises are useful to keep you in shape while also boosting your metabolism. Losing some extra body weight can actually do wonders for people with diabetes. Since extra body weight affects the function of bodily organs, an exercise regimen helps to regularise your insulin levels. 

However, any diabetes control program is not useful if it only targets your physical well-being. Recent medical studies have shown that stress significantly alters the hormonal balance in the human body. Especially with the modern sedentary lifestyle and stressful professional environment, it is no wonder that diabetes is on the rise.

Yoga is one of the most effective ways to give yourself some relief from everyday stress. It leaves a relaxing effect on both body and mind. Further, different yoga poses are known to help restore your body’s hormonal balance. 

Here are some yoga poses that stimulate abdominal organs to regulate insulin levels –

  • Plow pose
  • Upward-facing dog pose
  • Corpse pose
  • Sun salutations

These poses are great for maintaining physical shape and at the same time, help keep your mind stress-free and relaxed. Regularly doing yoga helps you remain calm and thus helps regulate your blood sugar levels.  


It is time we do away with the stigmas associated with diabetes; in reality, the condition is quite manageable. Today, living a healthy and enriching life is possible despite being diagnosed with diabetes. The way is to seek help from the experts to get a holistic diabetes control program that suits your physical and psychological requirements.  

While diet and exercise are important in diabetes, you must keep in mind that it is a long-term condition. Diabetes can only be managed by keeping an eye on the blood glucose levels and leading an active lifestyle. The key is to make small changes to your everyday life so as to make well-being a priority. 

Reference Links

About the author

Medhaavi Mishra