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Eight Tips for Running with Diabetes

“Walking is for everyone and provides tremendous health benefits,” says Michael See, M.S., R.C.E.P., a clinical exercise physiologist at Joslin. “Jogging is a great form of exercise for individuals who prefer to participate in a more vigorous exercise program,” he adds. The following are his tips to get the benefits of a healthy running program:

1. Get your doctor’s clearance. People with diabetes should consult their healthcare providers if they want to go beyond purposeful walking, to make sure that they are not at risk for cardiovascular, orthopedic or other problems.

2. Walk before you run. Go from walking to running in a gradual process. Begin with purposeful walking (for half an hour or so), then combine walking and jogging, and then increase the jogging.

3. Wear the right footwear. Consult with an expert when you buy the shoes. Make sure that they fit well and are appropriate for running.

4. Dress appropriately. Dress in layers; wear absorbent materials close to skin to wick away perspiration and an outer layer to protect you from the wind and other elements. Wear a reflective vest if you’re out at night.

5. Find a partner or role model. Look in your community for running groups or clubs. Invite your neighbor or colleague to join together during lunch. If you’re interested in going the distance and even maybe running a marathon, pair up with someone who has done it.

6. Keep a goal in mind. You may want to set your sights on an event such as a five-kilometer road race for charity.

7. Have a plan for managing your diabetes. Measure your blood sugar before and after the activity (and during it, if needed). Carry juice, a sports drink, a piece of fruit or glucose tablets. Keep a training log, recording your miles and your blood glucose readings.

8. Listen to your body. Starting gradually and being consistent are the secrets to improving your health and fitness, avoiding injury and managing your blood sugar levels.

For an appointment with a Joslin exercise physiologist, call 617-732-2440.

Page last updated: April 23, 2014