Make hiking your diabetes-friendly hobby with 3-simple steps!

With a little bit of organisation and the right equipment, hiking can be a fantastically healthy and diabetes-friendly activity for all ages and activity. Just follow these 3 simple steps below to set you on the right ‘trail’!

Step 1. Choose the right walk. 

The best thing about hiking is that it exists on a continuum; on one side is a short walk along a nice gentle path, to the other side where you can be climbing across mountains! So don‘t worry if you’re just starting out, or introducing hiking to someone who hasn’t done it before, there are plenty of walks for you to get started on that are only a short drive or train ride away. Or if you’ve been hiking a few times then you can take it up a notch by going for a further or longer walk.

To select the right walk for you make sure you check the grading: The grading system below is used by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service:     

Grade 1. No bushwalking experience required. Flat even surface with no steps or steep sections. Suitable for wheelchair users who have someone to assist them. Walks no greater than 5km.
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Grade 2. No bushwalking experience required. The track is hardened or compacted surface and may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps. Walks no greater than 10km. 
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Grade 3.  Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections with a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.
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Grade 4. Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.
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Grade 5. Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20km.
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So if you’re looking to get started then find a Grade 1 or Grade 2 that you like the look of and then…

Step 2. Get prepared. 

What you need to bring for a hike largely depends on the length and difficulty of the walk; will you be camping on the way and will you need a tent? Can you fill up your water bottle somewhere during the walk? Will you be walking through a meal? Two?

However, here is a list of things to consider bringing that you can augment based on your specific walk:

Something I’ve noticed is that people assume that to do some hiking you’ll need a carry around a MASSIVE military-style pack, and it’s just not true! If you make sure to pack only what you need and leave what you don’t at home you’d be surprised by how little you can carry. Usually, a small backpack is enough for a walk of no more than an hour or two.  

What’s more important is that you have a way to keep everything your taking 1) safe, and 2) together. You can do this in a number of ways, but keep in mind that you need to physically protect your diabetes gear and any insulin from heat. 

Step 3. Start small.

If you haven't hiked before, or are introducing someone to your favourite hobby, remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and the most import step is the first one. You don't need to go straight to a Grade 3- start small, and achievable and slowly increase in length, difficulty, or duration. 

One great thing you can do is bring a friend! having people to walk with is great fun and great motivation- especially if you teh person you're going with is also living with diabetes and you can better support each other and understand particular needs. 

And if you needed more reasons to start walking, remember that not only is hiking good for your physical health, being outdoors and in nature can be a powerful stress reliever!
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Our Services and Blog posts are NOT intended to substitute any professional medical advice or treatment and are offered for informational purposes only. Remember to always work with your doctor before changing anything about your medication or diabetes management. The above information is NOT medical advice. 

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