By Janine Logan
Senior Director of Communications and Population Health
Let’s face it. All of us could probably walk a bit more. My daughter even agrees with that.
I never considered walking’s natural health benefits until my child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, or T1D, is an autoimmune disease that has no cure, which makes it a “chronic disease.”
As a physical activity, walking is cheap, easy-to-do, and offers steady, but effective glycemic control. In fact, the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention recommend moderate level, steady exercise for adults as the best way to lose and/or maintain a healthy weight. Walking is high on the CDC’s list of activities, and the most popular way to reach their weekly recommendations. FYI, those recommendations are 150 minutes of activity for adults per week, and at least 60 minutes activity each day for children and adolescents.
That’s one of the reasons why the annual JDRF Walk is always a must-do for my family. JDRF holds its annual walk, “to turn Type 1 into Type None,” in locations all over the United States. In my region, the walk happened October 23, 2016 at Eisenhower Park, a local county park.
While walking along, I am always struck by the numbers of children and adults who have T1D – about 1.25 million Americans, according to JDRF. I am equally surprised by the thousands of supporters who walk alongside those living with type 1 diabetes.
Knowing what I know now about chronic diseases, it’s not hard to imagine that about half of the adult supporters walking along with me probably suffer from at least one chronic disease themselves. Type 2 diabetes is one of the more common chronic diseases. One in every three Americans is at high risk for the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Type 2 is not the same disease as T1D, because in type 2 diabetes, the pancreas stops working properly over time, and eventually can’t produce enough insulin to keep you healthy. Eating properly and remaining active can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and can help those already diagnosed to better manage the disease.
I have known some people whose type 2 diabetes is in full remission thanks to exercise, a healthy diet, and no medication. Some of them have achieved this with walking.
Long Islanders can participate in a special, homegrown walking challenge by logging into the Are You Ready, Feet?™ portal from the Long Island Health Collaborative. Here, you can track how many steps you’ve taken, miles you’ve traveled, or minutes you’ve spent moving, to take a virtual journey across Long Island! Each time you log an activity is another entry into a quarterly prize drawing for a fitness-related gift.
It’s a user-friendly site that also has great health tips and a list of parks, pathways, and both indoor and outdoor places to walk, where you and your family can go for fun and health. The events calendar has tons of free and sponsored walking evens across both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
So I encourage you to get your family moving! Maybe I will see you at an upcoming walk or on a trail at one of Long Island’s beautiful parks.
Pictured, Janine Logan, her
husband, and her daughters
Sarah left, Sophia right.