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Hiking with Diabetes: Essential Tips from a Diabetes Dietitian!

Apr 13, 2023

Are you someone with diabetes who loves hiking and outdoor activities, but often finds it daunting to keep your blood sugar levels in check during such events?

Walking away from civilization and seemingly "off the grid" can be unsettling for people with diabetes. It's terrifying to rely on survival with only the items on your back, and carrying your pancreas adds another layer of uncertainty.

Maybe it’s the big reason why you might be hesitant to venture outside and away from home without the conveniences of low-blood sugar snacks, water, or medical support nearby.

These tips will inspire you to put on your hiking boots and reconnect with nature!

A pre-hike meal with a balance of carbs, fat, and protein can help provide sustained energy throughout the hike. In case of low blood sugar, bring low-calorie snacks such as Skittles, candy corn, and graham crackers.

Additionally, having only a small amount of active insulin before beginning the hike can help prevent low blood sugar.

It's important to stay hydrated during a hike, especially at higher altitudes, so make sure to bring plenty of water with you. Depending on the duration and intensity of your hike, you may feel okay venturing off with just water.

First, pack a little more water than you think you'll need. But, if you tend to sweat or are embarking on a higher-intensity hike that lasts over an hour, you may want to consider an electrolyte supplement.

Hiking with a friend or a group can make the experience more fun and enjoyable. Having someone with you can provide additional support and safety.

Plus, you will be able to capture some cool videos and pictures of your adventure and stumble upon some unexpected surprises. Exploring new places and discovering hidden gems can make the hike even more exciting and memorable.

While monitoring blood sugar levels and taking steps to manage them during a hike is important, it's also important to remember to enjoy the experience and not let diabetes take over the entire hike.

Finding a happy medium between blood sugar control and outdoor enjoyment can make the experience more enjoyable and fulfilling. 

Finally, as many inspiring quotes of our time have said, just enjoy the view.

Being able to hike up a mountain, along a river, or through a park is a gift. We are so lucky to be able to seek new heights and enjoy the beautiful gift of our planet.

Even if that means having to eat a few more snacks throughout!

As you venture out into nature, with some preparedness, you will be ready for anything!


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