Walking and Diabetes: A Great Way to Fight Diabetes!

Sripathi R. Kethu, M.D. FACG.

By Sripathi R. Kethu, M.D. FACG.

If you have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, or have been struggling with this condition for some time, a great way to help your body fight diabetes is to start a walking program. By committing to light regular exercise, your body will improve many of the symptoms of diabetes, and may even remedy some of the causes such as obesity.

Walking exercising

How Walking Can Save Your Life

Our image of a fit person is someone sweating profusely in a gym and building muscles on top of muscles. But it’s incredible how quickly the body can respond to even light exercise. There’s no need to push yourself to the limit to see the benefits, and simple walking could significantly improve your health by:

  • Improving blood pressure
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving mood and staving off depression
  • Reducing the risk of cancer
  • Reducing the dangers of heart disease
  • Lowering your weight

Heart disease and blood pressure issues are connected to diabetes incidence, and so by walking every day, if possible, these dangers can be significantly reduced alongside the other benefits mentioned above. If walking isn’t possible, other exercises such as swimming and strength training can be beneficial.

Your 5 Week Walking Plan

Your 5 Week Walking Plan

Let’s take a look at a simple walking plan you can use to counteract your diabetes and its symptoms.  This plan assumes a low level of fitness, so if you feel you are fitter than this, simply start the program at the stage which best suits you. Remember, this isn’t a race, and you don’t want to get injured, so when in doubt take things slowly at first. Wear comfortable shoes, preferably trainers or walking shoes, and wear loose clothing to make things more comfortable for you.

  • Warm Up: By “warming up” you’ll decrease the chances of injury, and will improve your flexibility along the way. To do this, walk in place for a couple of minutes, moving your legs and arms as best you can. Static stretches are not advisable, so use dynamic movements to warm up, such as a light casual pace to begin with.
  • Hydrate : Keep a bottle of water with you to remain hydrated, especially when you feel things are getting tougher.
  • Week 1: Each day, walk casually for 3 minutes at a nice easy pace. Then walk for 5 minutes at a quick pace. Finally, walk at an easy pace for 2 minutes. You’ve just done, 10 minutes of exercise, well done! The 2 minutes at the end will help you “cool down” which helps to protect against injury as well. Follow this up with a couple of minutes of stretches, especially for your legs and hamstrings.
  • Week 2: Walk casually for 5 minutes, then at a harder pace for 7 minutes. Cool down with a 3 minute easy pace. Do this 5 – 7 days a week. You’re up at 15 minutes of exercise now!
  • Week 3: Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes at a harder pace, then 5 minutes at a slow pace again to cool down. That’s 20 minutes of exercise. At this stage, you’ll start to really see big improvements in your cardio fitness.
  • Week 4: Keep the 5 minute warm up and cool down pace at the beginning and end of your walk, but increase the higher pace to 15 minutes.
  • Week 5: Finally, increase the higher pace to 20 minutes, with a 5 minute warm up and cool down walk at the beginning and end respectively.

You’ll start to lose some weight if you’re overweight and watch your calories, while protecting yourself against diabetes and associated symptoms. Don’t stop there though! Keep increasing your times, once you are walking briskly for 50 minutes a day, you could start a jogging program if you feel up to it. If not, just keep walking daily.

Remember, always consult your doctor before entering into an exercise program.

Have you tried using exercise to reduce your diabetes symptoms? We’d love to hear your story in the comments section below.


Sripathi R. Kethu, M.D. FACG.

Sripathi R. Kethu, M.D. FACG.

Dr Kethu is a practicing Gastroenterologist. He is a healthcare and real estate entrepreneur. He writes frequently on topics related to health care, healthy living, and physical fitness. He is the author of Amazon’s best-selling book, “The IBS Guide”. He is an avid marathon runner and is on track to finish his 100th marathon in 2024.

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