When people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they may worry that they’re going to be sick and have a lot of health problems. “But you can have diabetes and still be healthy,” says Arcy Segura, CDE, health education manager at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. While diabetes is a chronic illness, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to better manage the condition and prevent — or delay — complications.
“Dietary therapy and physical activity are the cornerstones of diabetes management,” says Jeffrey Powell, MD, FACE, chief of the division of endocrinology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. Changing lifestyle habits can be difficult, but doing things like eating a balanced diet, exercising, checking your blood sugar, and getting enough sleep can really make a difference in how long and how well you live with diabetes. Try these 11 tips from Segura and Dr. Powell for a healthier future with type 2 diabetes.
Walk for 10 to 20 minutes after you eat.
Walking after meals can lower post-prandial blood sugar and help with weight management. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. “Just 10 to 20 minutes of moderate movement can help bring blood sugars down when you do the activity after a meal,” Segura says. In fact, taking a 10-minute walk right after meals may even be more effective at keeping blood sugar levels balanced than taking a single 30-minute walk at another point in the day, according to a study published in the December 2016 issue of Diabetologia. To increase motivation, set post-meal alarms on your smartphone; try using a wearable fitness-tracking device to track your steps; or enlist a walking buddy, Powell suggests.