by Sheri R. Colberg, PhD
Being athletic and diabetic
isn't an easy balance to achieve sometimes and when
one is first diagnosed it can be difficult, at best,
to find the information an active diabetic needs to
suit their passion for the outdoors.
My own experiences as a
diabetic have been a challenge and when I was given
the news three years ago, I was sure that I would have
to hang up my backpack for good. I thought I'd be editing
OAC from the sidelines, never again to participate in
the activities I adored so much and I was devastated
at the thought. I spoke with the educators and nutritionists
at my local Diabetes Education Centre (DEC) about what
I would need to do as far as insulin and food choices
were concerned when doing these activities. Sadly, the
staff at my particular DEC chose to really dumb things
down and they could not provide the information I needed.
I felt helpless.
am not the type of person that accepts defeat, as those
close to me know, I am stubborn and tenacious. I wasn't
about to let being diabetic hold me back, so I worked
hard and found a way to continue backpacking, day hiking,
canoeing, and the like. I even took up running. I learned
so much by trial and error which isn't the easiest way
to go about it but without proper professional support,
I had no other choice. All the while, there was a great
tool out there, I just didn't know about it at the time.
It is called the Diabetic Athlete's Handbook
and it is indispensable for any active diabetic.
This book, written by Sheri
R. Colberg, PhD, is a wonderful resource for both Type
1 and Type 2 diabetics involved in fitness, endurance,
or recreational sports. The work covers a multitude
of activities including running, swimming, fitness classes,
ice climbing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountaineering,
adventure racing and so many others that there isn't
room to list them all.
One of the things I love
most about the handbook is that it has comprehensive
information on balancing blood sugars, how our bodies
react under the strain of exercise, and how our energy
system functions. Not only did I find this helpful in
wrapping my head around adjustments I'd need to make
for fitness, my partner who is not diabetic found it
useful. It helped him to understand my needs on challenging
wilderness trips. In turn, he was able to support me
from a place of knowledge.
The book has some of the
most inspiring athlete profiles I've read. These serve
to illustrate that being a diabetic does not need to
be a barrier that holds us back from the activities
we enjoy. With the expertise this book has provided
I've maintained my outdoorsy way of life, controlled
my blood sugar, and I am running my first charity race
in April in support of the Juvenile
Diabetes Research Foundation.
The Diabetic Athlete's
Handbook is, by leaps and bounds, the best resource
I have read and a must-have for anyone who is dealing
with the rigors of balancing blood glucose levels and
an active lifestyle.
The book is available
directly from the publisher, Human
by Laurie March
Cover image courtesy Human Kinetics