A fantastic family day out, hiking (or trekking) provides fresh air, exercise, scenery and the opportunity to spend valuable time with the family. It really can bring out the best in you, mentally and physically. And best of all it’s free!
However, not everyone is comfortable with the idea.
Some folks are genuinely interested in the concept of hiking, but are sometimes a little bit afraid. Diabetics often fall into this category – how to deal with the levels of exercise in relation to blood sugar levels, how to look after their feet properly, and the all-encompassing thought of should I really be doing this with my condition?
The simple answer is yes. Of course you should. There is very little about diabetes that can’t be overcome with adequate planning and preparation. A specialist store will help you prepare for your first hike and gather together items on your hiking equipment list.
Taking on board a suitable amount carbohydrates before your trip, and taking some for during your trip is extremely important. Hiking is a form of sustained exercise, and a constant form of using energy, so you should eat or adjust your insulin accordingly. You are the experts, so you will know what is right for you. If in doubt, there are many suitable websites out there for advice and information. Your hiking equipment list should contain provisions for low blood sugar level. Your doctor is best placed to advise about this, but glucose tablets or energy drinks are available for such situations. It is strongly advised that you take some with you on your trek.
Naturally, sun cream is also a must on your hiking equipment list – even in the UK! Trekking often involves a lot of time in the open countryside, so be prepared for all weather conditions.
Top of your hiking equipment list will be walking boots. Suitable clothing and footwear should always be used, particularly for diabetics. Hiking when you are uncomfortable is never a pleasant experience, so ensure that clothes and especially footwear fit correctly and do not rub. Most treks, by definition, are quite long, so having clothes that are too loose or too tight can impact your enjoyment.
It is especially important to look after your feet if you have diabetes. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and sometimes cause a loss of feeling. It is imperative that shoes that fit well and don’t squeeze or rub are worn – especially when walking / trekking / hiking. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns or blisters.
Suitable socks should also be worn – these should be item number two on your hiking equipment list. Socks that have no seams in order to reduce the chance of blistering. Comfortable socks, free from binding elastic, can provide an effective and safe environment for your feet. Wearing suitable fitting footwear and appropriate good fitting socks is a simple way of preventing injuries to the foot area, both during your outing and afterwards.
Hiking is fantastic exercise for body and mind. It may seem like a dangerous proposition for diabetics, but if you prepare well and have a good hiking equipment list, there really is nothing to hold you back. Enjoy the summer!