Walking and diabetes

Walking and diabetes 

Getting active with Type 2 diabetes 

Certain lifestyle changes can help control Type 2 diabetes and making exercise a part of your routine can make a significant difference. Getting active can slow its progress and help prevent long-term complications, especially when you make healthy eating a habit too. And if you’re at risk of Type 2 diabetes because it runs in the family, simply stepping up your activity level can help stop it in its tracks. 


Is it safe to walk with Type 2 diabetes? 

While walking is one of the safest and easiest ways to build physical activity into your life, there are a few precautions to take. But don’t let them put you off - they’re straightforward steps to make sure you can enjoy your walks worry-free. 

  • Be sure to speak to your doctor or diabetes team before you increase your activity levels. 

  • Plan your sugar intake and insulin injections around your walks. Because walking uses up glucose, you may find you need less insulin. 

  • Avoid injecting in your legs just before a walk. Exercising the leg muscles may cause the insulin to be absorbed too quickly. 

  • Check your blood sugar level 15 minutes before walking and one hour after you finish. If there’s a significant difference, consult your doctor before taking a longer walk. If your blood sugar level is unusually high before walking, stay put and wait to walk once it has returned to normal. 

  • Always carry glucose with you. 

  • If you’re prone to frequent hypoglycaemic (hypo) episodes, go walking with someone who knows what to do if it a hypo occurs. 

  • If you take a brisk walk, remember to make any necessary meal adjustments to allow for delayed hypos. Hypos can occur up to 36 hours after activity as the muscles refuel.  

  • Take care to look after your feet. 


Type 2 diabetes and the benefits of walking  

All the evidence says walking is good for you, and you don’t need to go fast or far to reap the benefits. So whether you prefer to be a solitary stroller, fancy striding out, or like to walk and talk you’ll still be taking control of your diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your blood sugar levels in check and fighting fatigue are all within reach when you get walking. 


Getting started with walking when you’re living with Type 2 diabetes 

The beauty of walking is that you set the pace. So start at a comfortable speed and walk a short distance, taking breathers whenever you need to. As your body gets used to being more active, and you’re confident the precautions above are keeping you safe, you can build your distance or walk at a brisker pace. The most important thing is to take those first steps.  


Take your first steps to being more active, with confidence  

If you are new to walking Ramblers Wellbeing Walks are ideal for getting started with walking and staying active, especially when you’re living with a health condition. Our Ramblers Wellbeing Walks are available in England and Wales.

Support from trained walk leaders helps you take those first steps towards being more active. And you’ll be amongst a friendly bunch all walking for their own reasons - whether to ward off illness, manage health conditions or boost wellbeing.  

Find your local Ramblers Wellbeing Walk. 

You can find out more about keeping active with Type 2 diabetes by visiting Diabetes UK.