Winters are a great time to forget the scorching heat of warmer months and enjoy the warmth of the company of loved ones and great food. However, if you are a diabetic, it also means that keeping a tab on your blood sugar levels becomes extra challenging.
What’s The Connection: Diabetes in Winters
If you are wondering why a drop in temperature is of any concern to diabetics, here are some explanations:
- Diabetic patients tend to have higher blood sugar levels in winters than in the summer months.
- The cold makes it more challenging to squeeze in exercise or physical activity, a must for all diabetic patients. Add to that busy work schedules, food temptations and celebrations and holidays with family, winters can really derail a diabetic’s fitness regime! Slowed metabolism can cause weight gain, another risk factor that diabetics and pre-diabetics must avoid.
- Grey skies, no sun, and biting cold affect moods and makes people feel sluggish. This is difficult for diabetics, who must eat right and stay active through the year.
Tips To Help Diabetics Through The Cold Season
#1 Stay warm
Layer your clothing to keep yourself warm during winters, especially head and feet. It is important for a diabetic person to keep toes warm, so bring out those woolen socks and heaters!
#2 Eat Right
Winters tend to make people eat more, and that too -the wrong kind of foods. If you are a diabetic battling this dilemma, read on:
- Choose home cooked meals – Eat wholesome, healthy meals at home to keep blood sugar in check. Opt for whole grains, steamed veggies, fruits for desserts, lean meats, etc.
- Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables – Winters are great for a wide range of veggies and fruits.
- Don’t go to a party hungry – It’s tempting to snack on rich party treats and lose your calorie and sugar count. Make sure you have a healthy snack before leaving home. Or how about taking a healthy dish along with you for the host and guests?
- Maintain portion control – Eat in small amounts to manage cholesterol and sugar levels.
- Drink plenty of water – Cold weather and heating systems can dehydrate your body. Make sure you drink enough water.
#3 Continue Physical Activity
We know, it takes a different kind of effort to exercise in winter, but it is important – especially for diabetics. Here are some ways to do it:
- Go for a walk – Walking requires no additional equipment. Just dress appropriately and stride on!
- Try yoga, dance – Too cold outside? Yoga is a great indoor activity that can be done by anybody, at any age. Or play some songs and dance to the tunes.
- Choose stairs, avoid vehicles – Opt for healthier options like taking the stairs or choosing to walk to nearby places to get in that daily dose of physical activity. After all, even small efforts add up!
#4 Test Blood Glucose Frequently
Yes, it is cold but do not put off testing sugar levels in winters. You may warm your hands in front of a heater to make yourself comfortable.
#5 Stay up-to-date with Vaccinations
Diabetics are more prone to acquire fatal pneumonia or influenza. Be sure to get your shots at the start of the winter season.
#6 Keep Your Mood High
Cold weather can affect anyone’s emotions and moods, but as a diabetic, make sure you follow the above steps to keep yourself active physically and emotionally. Involve yourself in activities to keep winter blues at bay for healthy glucose levels.
Image courtesy of [Praisaeng] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Diabetes and Cold Weather,” Diabetes.co.uk, http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-cold-weather.html
“Diabetes Winter Health Guide: Holiday and Cold Weather Safety Tips,” UnitedHealthGroup.com, November 30, 2012, http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/articles/news/unitedhealth%20group/2012/1130diabeteswinterguide.aspx?sc_lang=en
“Managing diabetes in the winter: Safety tips,” MayoClinic.com, Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N., March 20, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-blog/diabetes-and-winter/bgp-20090037
“Managing your diabetes this winter,” PhillyTrib.com, The Philadelphia Tribune, http://www.phillytrib.com/article_3013854f-98d5-5434-a37e-2c1fd886a384.html