Congratulations, Diabetes Community, on sharing some awesome tips on how to stay physically active over the cold winter months when carbs are so painfully plentiful. This was of course last week's contest question, to which we again received nearly 60 informative replies.
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Overall, the wisdom of the community on this topic seems to focus on the following:
Try some mall walking; get a dog and enjoy the obligation to take it for walks; set an exercise goal, like an event to train for; find some friends to make exercise more fun (and less optional); and try the Wii Fit for breaking a sweat indoors, with a high entertainment factor.
Since multiple people mentioned these tips in different variations, we tried to reward those who mentioned them first, or had a particularly unique take on the subject. Luckily, we had enough goodies from our generous sponsors to select no less than 10 winners this week. Therefore, without further ado, the fortunate WEEK 3 WINNERS of the HOLIDAY SURVIVAL SWEEPSTAKES are as follows:
• Lesli, who seems quite resourceful and dedicated. The first to mention mall walking, she says: "This sounds a little crazy, but during cold weather (especially around the holidays) my friends and I do walking laps around the mall. Just dodging the people makes for a workout, plus we have a "large track" to go around. People watching, and the cool items in the store windows keep us completely entertained for at least an hour, and every day is different.
"For a little while, we had even staked out the Walmart. With it being open 24 hours, it allowed a little flexibility in coordinating all our crazy schedules. Then when you're done, you can get some everyday shopping done, not to mention, you're always prepared for a low."
Lesli's won herself a lovely a Deluxe diabetic carry case from StickMeDesigns, retail value ca. $40.00
• AngelaC, who has some great ideas for both indoors and outdoors: "During the winter months here in the northeast, where the snows can get quite deep, I am the one to volunteer to shovel the sidewalks and to dig out the cars — with traditional shovels. No snow blowers here! It can provide both aerobic and anerobic benefits (there's a great incentive to keep moving as fast as you can when it's below zero out there!), so that's perhaps my favorite way of getting exercise during the winter. I'm outdoors, I'm moving and I'm doing something productive. I test before I start working and I make sure I keep my meter in a pocket inside my jacket, where it can stay warm, just in case I start feeling low.
"I also break out exercise DVDs or tune to an exercise program on the TV if I can't get out of the house or if there isn't any snow to shovel. This year, I joined a gym that is closed for about 3 or 4 hours/week, so as long as the roads are open, I have no excuse to not exercise every day!."
For that harsh cold weather, AngelaC has won herself a case of rich and creamy Copper Labs' P.O.L. skin cream, retail value of $19.99 per tube
• Emmy, who doesn't have to deal with harsh winters since she lives in the south, but has this tip to offer: "I work in the Corporate offices, and with three seven story buildings, each the length of football fields I have plenty of room to go roaming. I make an effort not to call or email anyone when I can walk to their cube, especially if going to their cube means I can take the stairs. I also take a 20-minute stretch break in the afternoon. I get up and just roam the halls, especially the ones that go by the gorgeous windows. It helps me to have a goal that I'm trying to reach, and in the winter a pedometer to push toward 10,000 steps a day is always good. It keeps me reminded that I need to make the effort."
Nice! We hope you don't mind a little chocolate, Emmy, because you win a "luscious + diabetic friendly" pack from VerÄ“ Goods: including the 5 dark bars in various flavors, PLUS one box each of walnut clusters and chocolate walnut brownies, total retail value $50.00
• Andrew, who writes that his fitness secret is dogs: "I hate working out, but I'll play with my dogs in the snow, and no matter how awful it is outside, they still need to walk."
Good boy, Andrew ;) You win this week's copy of "50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes" by Sheri Colberg-Ochs and Steven Edelman, MD, retail value $15.95.
• KDRoberts, who advises us to plan activities with other people: "If you are trying to do things alone it's very easy to put something off or just not do it. If you plan something with other people, be it swimming, a gym class, mall walking, sports team, whatever, it's a lot harder to not do it. Firstly you have to let the other person or people know you are not going to be participating as planned which in itself can be an issue both in terms of letting somebody else down or just getting in contact with them. Then, since you are canceling the other people involved will most likely try to re-schedule.
"The other piece of advice is do something that you enjoy. If you don't like doing something, you wont do it. If you like something, you will find ways to do it regardless of what the weather is like outside or what else is going on in your life.""
Thanks, KD. You win this week's ExtendBar snacks "Holiday Survival Kit" including a sampling of all the company's products, retail value circa $33.
• Brian, who's geared up for indoor activity with both a treadmill and a Wii Fit. "The treadmill is in a freezing cold room, and I'm uncomfortably warm after 5 minutes of running, so it's actually far easier and far more likely that I'll work out on a winter morning, as opposed to a summer one. Also: Wii Fit. I can't stress how great this is for diabetics - any and all comfort levels, low impact or high impact if you want it, built-in breaks, strength training and aerobics. It's a great way to sneak in 15 to 20 minutes of exercise and not actually get low. "
Sneaking it in — we love that. Brian wins this week's HealthSimple Starter Kit, a full set of logs, stickers, labels and all you need for comprehensive carb counting and logging, retail value $64 per kit.
• Annie, who reminds us of the impact of goals and rewards: "This year I am signed up for the inaugural Disney Princess Half Marathon in March. The goal to finish the half marathon pushes me to train through the winter. The reward is enjoying the weekend in Florida with my training partners. This will be my first long run since diagnosis and they have supported me throughout."
Annie, treat yourself a little. You have won our weekly book of coupons for 12 free cartons of Blue Bunny low-carb ice cream. Retail value circa $70.
• Mary Episcopo, who reminds of another great truth: "Exercise doesn't necessarily mean going to a gym. (You can do) vigorous apartment cleaning, or chair exercises for 30 mins a day. I think back to when I was in gym classes when we were doing exercises. Make it fun. Richard Simmons, Billy Blanks, put on your favorite music, and dance. I enjoy dancing, and sometimes Billy Blanks its a bit faster, mostly cardio. But it works, you lose weight and keep blood sugars down."
• Mady, who takes Mary's advice and does something close to home for her physical activity routine. "When it's cold outside, I find it helpful to involve my three year old daughter in indoor exercise. We chase each other in crab walks and other animal walks, jump like frogs, and play red light green light with silly exaggerated movements. I also do planks, and she tries to do them too, or bridges, which she likes to crawl through. Another big hit is airplane- I make sure that she goes up and down several times. It doesn't sound like much, but after 40 minutes, I find that I definitely feel it."
Mom Mady wins another chocolate treat from VerÄ“ Goods — this week's "diabetic-friendly" gift pack, including 5 bars of dark chocolate in a variety of flavors (pure dark, mint, vanilla bean, spicy, and citrus), retail value $30.
• And finally Randee, who reminds us why physical activity really matters: "To keep myself motivated during the entire year I always focus on the positive benefits that exercising will have, including a longer, healthier life, & the stablizing effect it has on my blood sugar. During the holidays, when it gets hectic, I use the gym time as a break time (a stress free hour). Plus, another motivator is that my regular workout routine helps to eliminate any guilt when endulging in a few holiday treats!"
Randee is the lucky winner of our first DiabetesMine Care Pack, containing a copy of "Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes", a DiabetesMine.com notebook and refrigerator magnets (retail value: indescribable - yowza!)
**WINNERS: Please email a valid postal mailing address (snail mail) and telephone number to me here in order for your prizes to be shipped out to you. All of you will also be entered into our GRAND PRIZE drawing at the end of December!
And now on to THIS WEEK'S QUESTION, the second-to-last in our competition. With Christmas and Hanukkah fast approaching, we assume many of you are packing your bags for a road trip or plane ride to visit family and friends. Hitting the road is always a challenge with diabetes, from packing to preparing for emergencies, to actually keeping your blood sugars in check during travel. So...
We are loving your wonderful diabetes management tips, so keep 'em coming. Enter the Sweepstakes this week by posting your travel smarts below. Danke!