On Tuesday November 27th, 2012 a team of UW-Madison students involved in Bucky™ PR woke up at the crack of dawn, bundled up for the cool weather, and hammered wooden stakes into the frozen ground. In honor of diabetes month, the signs were created to educate UW students on many health risks faced by those diagnosed with diabetes. Bucky™ PR is a student-run PR firm that provides non-profit public relations to local businesses. The American Diabetes Association in Madison enlisted the help of this talented team to increase participation for their Tour de Cure event in Spring 2013. The Bucky™ PR members crafted an awareness campaign encouraging their fellow badgers to “Stop Diabetes.” Stop signs were placed along the path for students to read as they hiked up the never-ending Bascom Hill. Each stop sign corresponded with a fact about diabetes. For instance, a “Stop Heart Disease” stop sign preceded an informational poster reading “ADULTS WITH DIABETES ARE 2 – 4 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE OF HEART DISEASE #TOURDECURE.” When the students finally reached the top, they were prompted to visit ADA’s website and become involved in the Tour de Cure event. If you are interested in Madison’s Tour de Cure event and want to get more involved, click here!
What I want to do with diabetes
I’ve been a diabetic for 12 years now, (since age 10). I’ve learned a lot through those twelve years, but the one thing that sticks out is a love for activity. I realize that might sound dumb at first but continue reading so I can give you a clearer picture for what I mean.
If you’re a diabetic, think back to when you were first diagnosed with diabetes. If you were like me you were very scared. “Am I going to go low if I do that?” “Did I take enough insulin for that meal?” “What are ketones?!” The one thing that scared me most out of those three was going low. I’m sure that I’m not alone with fear. If I could help the diabetic community in any way I would want to help diabetics overcome the fear of going low so that we all can enjoy an active lifestyle.
“I’m comfortable with a sedentary life, why should I want an active life?”
We’ve all heard about the complications that come later on in life with poorly managed diabetes: Eye problems, kidney problems, nerve damage, etc. The great thing about exercise is that it helps to chip away at these adverse side effects. Exercise improves circulation, which in turn helps to solve the myriad of other diabetic related problems. By increasing circulation you are increasing the ability for nutrients to get to tissues, and increasing the ability of the body to get rid of toxins and waste. Think about that the next time that your extremities are cold.
Exercise also brings you to a healthier body composition, and creates a more positive attitude and self-image to oneself. Your body wants you to exercise, and when you do one of the ways it thanks you is by releasing the endorphins, a feel good hormone. It has been termed the “runner’s high” in every day vernacular. If you exercise regularly you know what I’m talking about.
Step out of that comfort zone
I’m not perfect at exercising with diabetes. It is certainly a challenge. I’ve been toying with the idea of competing in an Ironman but I am extremely concerned about how to manage my diabetes with it. As a very small test of how well I could manage my diabetes, I went for a very long bike ride this past summer. 70 miles unsupported. Fortunately I know a great CDE, Bob Hanisch at Peak Performance Professionals, and with his advice I was able to do the whole 70 miles with my BG at the end of the ride in perfect range. I stepped out of my comfort zone and was able to do something that I thought was impossible with diabetes. If you want to do something active but are unsure about how to do it with your diabetes ASK!! Find some help and step out of that comfort zone and enjoy life!
B.S. Exercise Science