November is American Diabetes Month and an important time to take a look at how to combat this disease which afflicts over 34 million people in our country. Diabetes is the number one cause of lower–limb amputations. Poor circulation, a condition associated with diabetes, means less blood flow to your feet which impedes the healing process. Simple cuts, rashes, and sores can quickly become infected wounds that pose a major medical threat. One way to combat poor circulation and lower your risk of diabetic complications is through regular exercise. In addition, being active makes your cells more sensitive to insulin so it works more efficiently, and you feel better. If you’ve been inactive for a while the thought of exercise can be daunting. Here are 7 tips to help you become more mobile without a formal exercise program, gym membership, or expensive equipment. Involve your doctor. Before starting any exercise program, you should consult your doctor and discuss the best exercise option for you. Taking this first step will help incentivize you to begin. Start small. Simply walking 5–10 minutes a day will put you on the road to a more active lifestyle. Check your shoes. You’re trying to prevent damage to your feet (as well as the rest of your body) so be sure to schedule a checkup with your podiatrist as well. The foot doctor can make sure any foot or ankle pain you are experiencing is resolved and also make shoe recommendations to accommodate any chronic podiatric conditions you have to help ensure walking will be painless and safe. Track your progress. Consider downloading an app on your phone, getting a fitness tracker, or a simple pedometer to wear to keep track of how many steps you take each day. Try to increase the number by 100–300 steps a day. Create opportunities to move. Walk while you talk on the phone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get off the bus one stop earlier. Once you challenge yourself to take more steps, you’ll be surprised at all the ways you’ll find to increase your movement. Stay motivated. Enlist a friend to be a fitness buddy and report your progress or backsliding to one another. Set up small, attainable goals with healthy rewards–when I reach 2,000 steps a day, I will buy new earbuds to listen to podcasts while I walk, etc. Don’t give up. No one is perfect! If you get off track for a day or two, simply start again–no recriminations or trash talk to yourself. We are your partner in managing your diabetes. Schedule regular checkups and contact us if you notice any concerning changes in your feet.