Walking for Your Health

Southcoast Diabetes Management Program’s weekly walks are open to anybody who wants to increase physical activity

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, although a more alarming figure points to the 86 million adults with prediabetes, defined as having higher than normal blood sugar levels but not yet within type 2 diabetes range. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15 to 30 percent of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years unless they take steps to reduce risk factors.

Southcoast’s Diabetes Management Program certified diabetes educators (CDE) help people see how a reasonably active lifestyle and healthy weight are among the two most powerful “medicines” available to help prevent and better manage diabetes.

Walking the talk

The Diabetes Management Program recently started a free, weekly walking program to help those living with diabetes — and anyone who wants to join in — increase their activity level. The walks, led by Michael See, MS, CDE, head out every Thursday at 5 p.m. and move along the 2-mile Quequechan River Rail Trail in Fall River’s Britland Park.

“It’s a beautiful environment for people of all ages and stages of life to connect with nature and get a little more physical activity,” See says. “I think our group is special because it’s multigenerational, with participants from young parents walking with a baby stroller to seniors — everyone is welcome,” he adds.

Stepping toward health

The American Diabetes Association recommends getting 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least five days a week to help keep blood sugar in a healthy range. Southcoast’s weekly walks welcome everyone at every physical activity level, with sessions starting at a beginner’s pace and gradually progressing.

“One of the least expensive and most effective ways to control diabetes risk factors is walking,” See says. “Add the pleasant company, camaraderie and community spirit our group shares, and our weekly walks become a social event that everyone looks forward to.”