Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Exercise Helps

I found this news story today, with the headline "Exercise cuts diabetes risk in people with big waists."

I'm having another well-duh moment. Please excuse me, it will pass.

The big news in this story is that they found reduced risk regardless of the BMI. So, even for persons whose BMI may not indicate a risk, if the waist size is big, they should exercise, and that exercise will help reduce their risk of developing diabetes. For this study, exercise meant five 30-minute periods of exercise per week.

Will this be the study that gets you off the couch? Will this be the one that convinces the next door neighbor to build exercise into her life?

If you're already a diabetic, or if you're at risk of becoming a diabetic, you must exercise. I know I sound like an overzealous P.E. teacher, but you must still exercise. Exercise is like magic for the body. It does such good work, even down at the cellular level.

You must exercise, even if it's uncomfortable.

You must exercise, even if it's inconvenient.

You must exercise, even if you don't like how you look in the exercise gear.

You must exercise, even if you think everybody's looking at you funny when you exercise.

We, meaning persons with diabetes, and people at risk of diabetes, must reconnect with our bodies. We must find a way to love the bodies that support our lives and find ways to make those bodies more healthy than they were before.

We modern folk often use so many labor saving devices that we don't even know what kind of physical work our bodies are capable of. Get out, walk a mile. See for yourself how short a mile is. Most healthy adults, even without training, can walk a mile in 20 minutes.

You can do more exercise than you think you are capable of. You can find great satisfaction in athletic accomplishments.

I have to give a nod to a few people here, one is Ellie Hodder. I participated in her Women Walk the Marathon training clinics for two years in the middle 90s. I'd love for you to go to that website and see all the photos of fat women sucessfully FINISHING the marathon and other ultra-long walk events. Ellie's phrase of "I am an athlete!" still rings in my ears.

I gotta say, barring injury, walking a marathon is not hard. It requires training, which means that you plan the time to train in the months leading up to your event. You walk 4 miles at a time, then 6 miles, then 8 miles, then 10 miles. This is not hard, but it does require determination and stick-to-it-iveness. It requires commitment. You have to do the training, and you have to keep going when you'd rather sit down and have a mocha frappuccino. It requires time. It does not require being a gifted athlete who might qualify for the Olympics. (You learned to walk when you were how old, remember?)

I had planned to walk on a walk relay team for the Portland To Coast relay this year, but my foot injury (sesamoiditis) caused me to withdraw. My team still finished. Twelve amazing interesting women, with widely varying athletic capacities. Some did 12 minute miles, some did 20 minute miles. They came back with blisters and minor injuries (jammed toes) and a lot of soreness, but they are so jazzed to do this again next year. I cannot believe it, and I am so proud of them. Each walker walked about 10 miles, in two different legs of the race. I'm so jealous that they can do this, and that they DID do this. They gave me a team photo, which is up on my desk right now.

This team has several XL t-shirts and even one or two 2x t-shirts. And these were not the largest women who I saw on the course this year. Do not let your size right now stop you from increasing your exercise. You're living in YOUR body. Don't let what other people think, or the bodies other people have, stop you from working to improve your body and your health. Your diabetes numbers will likely improve very quickly if you can exercise, even 30 minutes, even only five days a week.

I'm struggling with switching from walking as my exercise. This is a tough transition for me. But I'm committed to seeking physical health, including regular exercise, as part of my life. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'd like a double-foot transplant, or even a transplant of my four broken sesamoid bones, but I don't think that's in the near future of medicine.

I have to get creative and find solutions that will work for me, with the body that I have now.

So do you!


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