How to manage diabetes in the winter
Winter is in full swing.
And for diabetics, or people with other chronic illnesses, this season can bring a host of health challenges.
Irene Myers-Thompson, Wellness Director for United Healthcare of the Mid-Atlantic, says that diabetics should be especially careful about hibernating during the cold months – and that taking one's health seriously is of utmost importance.
Myers notes that exercise is critical in the winter for diabetics. Look into community-based fitness programs to avoid the intimidation of a gym, she suggests. Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity 3-5 days a week, preferably more.
It's especially important for diabetics to have good walking shoes. Myers recommends getting fitted for a pair by a professional. Diabetics tend to have poor circulation in their feet, a condition called neuropathy.
"If your feet are happy, you are going to want to go farther and walk farther," she added.
A common mistake in winter months is to load up on warm beverages like coffee or tea, often at the expense of drinking water. Make sure to drink about eight glasses a day of pure, filtered water, and avoid too many alcoholic drinks.
Avoid 'Empty' Calories
The tendency in winter, Myers notes, is to hole up indoors and eat. Avoid "empty" calories by consuming only "good" calories – the ones that provide the most nutrient-bang for your buck. Also, logging calories in a notebook can help keep you honest.