Join the Big Blue Test movement

For the fourth year Manny Hernandez, founder of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, is making sure we experience the benefit of activity on our blood sugar – and as a result, getting diabetes supplies and insulin to children in need around the world.

The movement is called the BigBlueTest – and you can’t fail.  

Sign up here and this is what you’ll do: 

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Record your results on the sign up page above – and if you can spread the word. With 35,000 people taking the test, $35,000 will go toward life-saving supplies. And, you’ll see what a little activity can do!

Save a life doing the Big Blue Test: maybe save your own

Do the Test: Help save a life

Have you ever directly seen the impact of activity on your blood sugar? You’ve heard it a million times: exercise helps manage blood sugar and prevent and delay diabetic complications. Now see it for yourself, and be part of the movement that’s saving thousands of lives. And one of those lives may be your own!

Between now and November 14th at midnight test your blood sugar, participate in an activity of your choice –  walking, gardening, vacuuming, chasing the cat – for 14 minutes, test your blood sugar again and share your results at the Big Blue Test. This is Diabetes Hands Foundations’ yearly initiative to show people with diabetes the impact of exercise on blood sugar.

When you do the Test and share your results, Roche Diabetes Care will fund life-saving diabetes supplies to someone in need in the U.S. or Latin America. The goal is 8,000 Big Blue Testers = 8,000 lives saved. If you want to save more lives, you can do the test as many times as you want as long as you record the results. 

Plus, you don’t have to have diabetes to do the Test. If you have a loved one with diabetes and a meter in the house, do the Test and save a life.

This is also about you: seeing the impact of movement on your blood sugar, you may decide in earnest it’s time get more active. And that, my friend, may just save your life.

My fuller story with details is on the Huffington Post: The 14-Minute Exercise That Can Save Thousands of Lives — Including Yours.

My test by the way – walking for 14 minutes to the library in my neighborhood – lowered my blood sugar 22 points! 

Lifelong Exercise Institute provides health tips and support

UnknownAuthor & exercise physiologist,  Dr. Sheri Colberg-Ochs


I’m noticing a trend already in 2011. That’s how much more available diabetes education is and much of it is right here online. In my last post, I told you about Gary Scheiner’s new online type 1 universityfor insulin users.

Sheri Colberg, exercise physiologist, PhD,  founder of Lifelong Exercise Institute and a type 1 patient herself, opens the doors of Lifelong Exercise Institute for a new 52-week “Fit Brain, Fit Body!”diabetes management email program based on her book, The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan.  

We all know how difficult it is to get all that exercise we keep hearing we should get. But having weekly info, support and guidance may be just the thing to get you off the couch.  

Each week through Sheri’s program you’ll receive an email answering fitness, exercise, nutrition and overall health questions. The 52 week program costs $25.

Some key topics include:

·         Weekly diabetes management tips from experts

·         No dieting–ever!

·         Easy-to-implement nutrition tips

·         Daily physical movement that doesn’t require sweating

·         Planned exercise that is short, sweet, and habit-forming

·         Effortless and permanent weight loss over 52 weeks

·         Exercise tips for your brain that will make you smarter

·         Health tips that will save (and prolong) your life

·         The nudge you need to make permanent lifestyle changes

·         Other key advice that will energize your body and your life

·         E-mail access to experts for your diabetes, fitness, and health questions

The program includes specific plans for beginners (or returning exercisers) and current exercisers. This may be what finally allows you to succeed in your plan for better health–and for less than 50 cents a week for a full year. That’s about the cost of one Starbuck’s cappuccino a week.

You can also choose 26 weeks of “Fit Brain, Fit Body!” or start with just 13 weeks of this program for $10. 

The shorter programs offer the same diabetes fitness and lifestyle programs weekly via e-mail, with an option to sign up for more of the full-year program later on. Also, you can begin any program anytime during the year.

You can preview and sign up for any program at Lifelong Exercise Institute

Just last month the American Diabetes Association issued new exercise guidelines: Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise spread out at least three days during the week, with no more than two consecutive days between aerobic activity.

“Most people with type 2 diabetes do not have sufficient aerobic capacity to undertake sustained vigorous activity three times a week,” says Sheri, “and they may have orthopedic or other health limitations.” So if you fall into that category, give “Fit Brain, Fit Body!” a look. The programs also support getting activity with a mobility limitation. 

A treadmill might be just the thing to put in that lonely corner where you took down the Christmas tree 😉 



My Daily Power-Walk



As part of our continued town-hall blogging this week, we’re tasked with writing about exercise. If you’ve been here before you likely know I’m addicted to my daily power-walks. I stroll out of my apartment building most mornings, walk along two blocks – that’s streets to anyone not from NYC – and a huge park awaits me that I walk around. 

Most days I walk around the perimeter of the park rather than in it. I save that for weekends when I’m swept up in all the walkers, joggers and bikers. But during the week I enjoy the leafy trees and the brownstones along the streets that hug the park. All tolled it’s about 7,235 steps around the park, 3.7ish miles I figure.

A few days a week I might walk not around the park but to do an errand.  I walk to Trader Joe over in Brooklyn Heights, the library, a great middle-eastern market and through half of Brooklyn to buy discount produce. Luckily living in a city like mine, I can walk almost everywhere – including over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan which takes me 77 minutes or so, not that I’m anal.

I’ve even been walking with an injured toe – it’s got a hairline fracture. And, yes, I’m in a soft surgical shoe. But once I felt I could manage more than walking from my living room to my computer – all 5 feet – I took again to the streets.

Do I go low walking? Sure, sometimes. It’s not an exact science: how many carb grams for how many steps. You can walk everyday the same walk, eat the same pre-meal, take the same amount of insulin yet your body doesn’t seem to know it. 

I carry SweeTarts all the time. They’re in every pocket and bag and half are way beyond their expiration date. I find this out when I have to resort to a roll and it’s stale. But, hey, at least it’s there and still works its magic.

There aren’t many other forms of exercise I do because there aren’t many other forms of exercise I like well enough to keep up. 

But walking: I walk because I am. How nice to slow down the world, see the trees, feel yourself breathe, let your thoughts ebb and flow and know you’re burning calories and helping your insulin work better! 

I walk because I am. I walk because I can.

Counting down to the holidays

My Omron pedometer


As I sail from Thanksgiving into the merriment of Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve, counting how many sweet potatoes and marshmallows I just devoured and how many cookies and glasses of champagne await me, I have one eye on threatening extra calories. But I have my other eye on a different set of numbers.

Diabetes comes with so many numbers. Our pre-meal blood sugars should be between 90 and 130, our 1-2 hour post meal blood sugars should be between 120 and 140, our A1cs should be below 7, our HDL over 45, LDL under 100, oops no, for us it’s under 70, our triglycerides under 150… you get the idea. But here’s one measurement I find truly encouraging, rather than discouraging. Counting my steps.

I know how I eat and how I move affect and create all the numbers above, but here’s one value I feel I have immediate, visceral control over; how many times I lift my foot, stretch it forward and put it down again. And, I am rewarded (not just with my blood sugar going down, my insulin sensitivity going up, my calories going away,) but with the instant knowledge and immediate gratification of seeing the results of my labor. 

These 9,183 steps on my pedometer are yesterday’s count from a one hour and 15 minute walk. On this late fall day I was strolling through a nearby neighborhood peering into new restaurants and kicking the leafy foliage underfoot. Since these 9,000 plus steps occurred between 11:30 AM and 1 PM, I know my ambling around my apartment before and after certainly put me over the 10,000 steps a day recommendation for physical activity.

There’s something truly motivating in seeing such immediate results of your efforts. Every time I give a diabetes presentation and show my pedometer someone will ask me where they can get one. Maybe they like the “gadget-ness” of it, but seeing things in black and white makes a big difference — it gives you a feeling of control. And as we all know, diabetes feels pretty uncontrollable a lot of the time.

So while you’re counting how many holiday parties you’re going to, slices of pumpkin pie you just ate, mini hot dogs and mushroom tartlettes you’ll be sidling up to at the buffet tables yet to come, remember, you can always count your steps. Getting them up to 10,000 a day, I guarantee you will put a holiday smile on your tiramisu-stained face.

Remember when walking was something you did rather than measured?

The aerial route inside my park 


Most days I walk around, sometimes inside, my local park two blocks away which takes me just about an hour door to door. I’ve worn a pedometer enough times to know it’s about 7,200 steps. I also know approximately 2,000 steps make a mile, so this walk is slightly more than 3.5 miles. And if I cared to spend even more brain cells on it, this would tell me I walk about a sixteen-minute mile. 

Well, this summer my husband made a commitment to exercise and was out the door every day at 7 AM to do his walk/run and Chi Gong in the park. Of course, being a techno-guy, he was not content merely to strap on a pedometer, but strapped something on around his chest to measure his heart beat, something else on his sneaker to measure his footstep, something that surveyed his walk from the air (thus the photo) so he could come home and look at where he’d been on his computer–as if he didn’t know–and a watch that told him how far he’d gone both in miles and kilometers, at what speed and probably who he passed. Somewhere in his enthusiastic sharing, I stopped listening. Sorry, bad wife.

One day we walked together and wanting to share his toys he demonstrated how each worked, making them available to me out of his deep love and generosity. By time he showed me how I’d know from his watch (rather than my head) that my 3.5 mile/hour walk was about a 16 minute mile I said, “That’s nice, but who cares?” Bad, bad wife. 

I know everything I need to know having worn a pedometer a few times: like that I have 2,800 steps left to cover to fulfill the 10,000 steps a day recommendation for health and that the ordinary running around I do every day typically has me fulfill that target. I don’t need to see where I went when I get home, thank goodness my memory isn’t yet that faulty, and I don’t need to confirm that my heart was beating while I was walking, thank god for that. Or, how many beats my heart makes per footfall. If I can put one foot in front of the other at a good pace without falling over I figure I’m doing more than fine.

Pedometer power, you still need a goal

Many steps through the windmills in Holland


If you read my post below you know I’m big on walking and that I think using a pedometer is a tremendous motivational tool. While we know the obvious, walking is healthy, you’d naturally think having a tool that marks your steps would be motivational. However, I just learned, that’s not entirely true. The real motivation comes from having a “step-goal” – deciding how many steps you will walk.

In 26 studies (eight randomized controlled trials and 18 observational studies) conducted by Dena M. Bravata, M.D., M.S., of Stanford University, Calif. and colleagues, among 2,767 participants, pedometer users logged between 2,183 and 2,491 steps per day more than control participants. Whew! I got that right. Overall, pedometer users increased their physical activity by 26.9%. However, and here’s the news, having a step-goal was identified as the predictor for increased physical activity. In the three studies that did not include a step-goal, participants had no significant improvement in physical activity — even with their pedometer! The participants who were clocking in 2,000 steps more per day had a 10,000-step-per-day goal, or other goal.*

Who woulda thought? So, in light of this information, decide how many steps you want to cover today and then strap on that pedometer. One note of caution: If you’ve been laying about the house lately don’t pick 10,000 steps as your goal today. Shoot for 2,000 and up it every few days. Keep it up and by New Year’s Eve, you may just be a 10,000 a day stepper – and yes jitterbugging, walking down the aisle and strolling through windmills count too!