If you’re having trouble finding motivation to exercise, you might try a change of scenery. Instead of walking around the block (yet again), try visiting a local park or recreation trail. Trail walking is a great way to improve your fitness—keep in mind that the intensity of trail walking tends to be higher because the ground surfaces and slopes vary. Start slow. And read these handy tips for heading off-road.
Pack for the trail. Consider a small pack with a water bottle, sunscreen, medication, blood glucose meter, glucose tabs, bug spray, a map and a cellphone. If you are going alone, leave a note with your intended route and tell a friend what time you plan to be back. Include some binoculars for nature watching. Be aware of the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
Dress for comfort and support. Dress in layers for comfort and weather protection. Start with a synthetic or silk base layer to draw sweat away from your body and keep your skin dry. Avoid cotton if you can—once it gets wet, it will turn cold and clammy. Your middle layer serves as insulation; polar fleece or high-tech knit or wool is ideal and can be removed if you get too warm. The outer layer should be a waterproof and windproof breathable jacket. In tick country, long sleeves and long pants are essential. Opt for supportive shoes with good traction and that fit you well.
Rest and check. Give yourself time to rest and check your blood sugar. Be sure to have diabetes supplies on hand so you can easily access medications or snacks.
Enjoy nature. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers or take in some of nature’s best sights and sounds. Find a list of National Trails Day events on the American Hiking Society website, americanhiking.org. Visit your local parks and recreation website to discover walking trails in parks, nature preserves and other conservation areas near you.
Before any strenuous physical activity, be sure to talk to your doctor.