Welcome to the Take Over Tuesday guest post series. I will be featuring posts by fellow bloggers and outdoors enthusiasts. Do you have some expertise or a great story to share? Consider submitting something to the Humans of the Outdoors series or contacting me directly.
This week’s feature is from Elisabeth Almekinder (RN, BA, CDE) of TheDiabetesCouncil.com. Elisabeth grew up in a small town in NC. The daughter of a country doctor, her father was sometimes paid with pies, chickens and goats. During snowstorms, Elisabeth made house calls with her father on horseback. She has since become a registered nurse herself, and she worked for 22 years in public health in South Carolina. In home health, she worked with many diabetics helping them to develop treatment plans for self-management. Currently, at a small health department in the coastal region of North Carolina, she has built up the Diabetes Self-Management Education Program there, and obtained her Certified Diabetes Educator credential. She is dedicated to helping others with diabetes prevent devastating complications, and live a healthier life. Elisabeth, her loving husband, son (age 17), and daughter (age 19), live in Pender County, NC, near the intracoastal waterway.
Like to Hike? Plan for hiking with diabetes …
Hikers need to plan for their hiking trips, and those with Diabetes should do extra planning and preparation to ensure a safe hike. What should someone with diabetes do to plan for a hiking trip? For starters, they should make sure to have plenty of diabetes supplies. This should include an extra glucometer, in case one is no longer working. They will need plenty of testing strips, and lancets to make sure they can get through the hike. A good rule is to plan for double the amount of strips needed. They should also take along enough insulin and supplies or insulin pump supplies to get them through double the time they plan to hike. Increasingly, people with diabetes are using Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM’s), and the diabetic hiker will want to make sure they have plenty of everything that they need for that. They will need plenty of extra water and carbohydrates for those high and low blood sugars that could occur off the beaten path.
New to hiking? Talk with your Doc…
If you are new to hiking, or physical activity in general, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor about any recommendations or limitations for hiking with diabetes. If you are new to hiking, it’s best to take shorter hikes to get into shape before taking any long trips. A partner on hikes is always needed. The buddy system will help to keep you safe while hiking. You will want to research where you are going. In addition, diabetic hikers should:
- Always check blood sugar prior to setting out on a hike
- Have an emergency plan, and let family and friends know where you will be
- Take spare batteries for glucometers and insulin pumps
- Get fitted for the appropriate hiking shoes at a sporting goods store (shopping for shoes at the end of the day is best, due to the fact that feet have swollen as much as they are going to by then)
Benefits of hiking with diabetes…
We know that exercise is good for diabetes, and hiking is no exception. In addition to decreasing bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, and increasing good cholesterol in the bloodstream, hiking can reduce the risk of diabetes complications, including stroke and heart disease. Hiking increases our strength and stamina, relieves stress, lowers our blood pressure, and reduces the symptoms of depression. It helps to increase the quality of sleep, and boost overall energy levels.
Remember, a hike could be very enjoyable if you are prepared, and you have packed what you need. For a person with diabetes, there is just more planning, researching, and packing to be done. Once planning and prep are complete, people with diabetes can hike safely. Happy trails to you!!