Starting a walking program is a great way to jump start weight loss, boost your energy levels and improve insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a term used to describe the body’s inability to effectively utilize insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for opening the doors of body cell’s to allow glucose to enter and be used for energy. Starting a walking program can help lower your A1c. Take these 4 steps to get you started on a walking program today!
1. Make it a date
If you are going to dinner with friends, you make a plan; you put it on your schedule. If you are going to host a party, you schedule it ahead of time. Why should exercise be any different? You will never have the time to start an exercise program if you do not schedule the time. Make it easy to stay on track by setting out your tennis shoes and workout clothes the night before. Put appointment reminders in your date book or on your smart phone. Consider scheduling walks with friends/family to help keep you accountable and on track.
2. Find some motivation
Try listening to music, a radio show, or a book on tape during your walk. If walking on a treadmill, do so while watching one of your favorite weekly shows. This can help distract you from the effort of the exercise and can help pass the time. The right music or show can help motivate you to pick up the pace and really get the heart pumping.
3. Set attainable goals
If this is your first time starting a walking program, set a goal to walk 600 steps for the first week. Add 600 steps per day each week until you reach 7,000-10,000 per day. You can find low-cost pedometers at most local stores (Walmart, Walgreens, etc.) to help keep track of your daily steps. Most smartphones also have pedometer applications (Pedometer for M7 – Steps, Stepz, Walker M7, Breeze, Pedometer 24/7, etc.) that are easy to use.
4. Check first
Before leaving the house, consider your blood sugar. If you are taking insulin or glucose-lowering medications, checking blood sugar prior to exercise will help prevent hypoglycemia do to increase activity. If your blood sugar is less than 120 mg/dL prior to exercise, consider eating a small 15 gram carbohydrate and protein snack. Examples include: half a peanut butter sandwich, a glass of milk, 4 peanut butter crackers, fruit and a cheese stick. Make sure you carry a fast-acting carbohydrate source along with you, such as glucose tablets, in case of a low blood sugar.