Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Keeping Active With Diabetes and Arthritis

by Kristina Ernst, RN, CDE, and Marian A. Minor, PT, PhD

Shoes should fit comfortably when you buy them. However, you should start by wearing new shoes for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Gradually increase the time you wear your shoes by five minutes each day. Once they have conformed to the shape of your feet and the way you move, you can wear them for as long as eight hours at a time.

After each exercise session, check your feet for blisters, areas of redness, and callus buildup. Be sure to check the spaces between your toes for any redness or broken skin. Use a mirror to inspect the bottoms of your feet, or have someone else inspect them for you. You can avoid serious foot problems by inspecting your feet every day and reporting any unusual symptoms that don’t disappear in a day or two to your diabetes care provider.

Taking action
Are you ready to start a physical activity routine? If so, take a minute to think about the specific, concrete actions you need to take — such as buying a good pair of walking shoes or signing up for an exercise class — to make your plans a reality.

Then write down an achievable goal for activity, such as, “I will attend a twice-weekly aerobics class,” or “I will stretch for 15 minutes every afternoon, then take a 2-mile walk.” Make sure you specify at what time you’ll do this, and where you’ll do it, and jot down some thoughts on what you’ll do if it’s raining or if the phone rings just as you’re about to start your stretching routine or head out the door to class or to take your walk.

When you exercise, remember to pace yourself, and stay tuned in to your body’s signals so you know when you need to slow down or take a break. Performing regular physical activity can help to relieve the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis and help you control your diabetes, but not if you overdo it and get injured or burned out.

In addition, find ways to vary your routine so you don’t get bored, but always include stretching, strengthening exercises, and aerobic activity in your plan. By keeping yourself active in a variety of ways, you’ll be on your way to greater mobility and better health. Best of all — you might even have fun doing it!

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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