Living With

Exercise with Diabetes: Photographing Nature an Excuse to Exercise

David Mendosa Health Guide September 10, 2008
  • My new blog,  "Fitness and Photography for Fun" is a special part of my Web site. The reason for it is to inspire other people -- particularly people with diabetes -- to get the exercise they need in a way that they enjoy.

    For me it's photographing nature. For some people it's listening to music they love on their iPod. For others it's going out with friends.

    When you do something that you love, it's easy. Even if it's also exercise. I make my exercise easy and enjoyable for myself by taking along my camera whenever I go out.


    When I was in high school, I got my first film camera. I went digital a few years ago. I love to take photographs of the beauty of nature everywhere that I go.


    Since I always look for beauty, I concentrate on what I find along the path instead of thinking about the destination or the miles still to go. This makes it much less about the hike than about what I see.


    I control my diabetes with a very low-carb diet and lots of exercise. My exercise of choice is hiking. Ever since I was an 8-year-old kid growing up in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California, I have loved to hike. It's what I do most, generally at least three times a week.

    But I also walk and jog around the area where I live. On the trail I often jog briefly as interval training.


    Sometimes I go out overnight with my backpack. This makes it possible for me to go to places where I would not be able to get to with just a daypack.


    Sometimes I ride my hybrid bicycle around town and on nearby trails. In winter I go out on my snowshoes. 


    On My Snowshoes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

    Resistance training and balance exercises are just as important for our good health, and I do that too even if I have to stay indoors for these exercises. When the weather out is too severe, instead of walking or hiking or cycling, I work out on a treadmill. Although the photo opportunities are limited then, I make sure to take my camera along, just in case I spot something beautiful.


    I am no athlete. Never have been. My classmates in elementary school recognized that by always choosing me last for their teams.


    But I've always loved to hike. I love the freedom and independence that it gives me. I love the chance it gives me to get away from my duties. And when my head clears on the trail I am often surprised at the insights that come to me.


    Still, starting to exercise indoors -- the resistance training, balance exercises, and the treadmill -- was tough, even though I knew all too well how important it is for controlling my diabetes. It isn't easy for anyone.


    It's a personal example of the universal called inertia. What it means is that a body at rest tends to remain at rest.


    But that's only part of it -- the down side. Inertia's up side is that a body in motion tends to remain in motion.


    Once we get going it's easier to keep going than to stop. Now, for me it's harder on my psyche -- to say nothing of my body -- not to exercise every day than to exercise.


  • Exercise -- along with diet and weight loss -- are the tools that I use to control my diabetes. With my posts here I hope to inspire everyone else who has diabetes to exercise. And if you are lucky enough not to have diabetes, getting more exercise is one of the few good ways that you have to avoid it.


    My "Fitness and Photography for Fun" blog grew out of emails that I have been sending to my family and friends for several years. Several of them encouraged me to post them online.


    Initially I resisted, because I like to hike and write a lot more than I like to program my Web site. Then, I realized that this was something my programmers could do much better than I could. For one thing, notice the letters "RSS" that they put at the top right of each of the blog pages. By clicking there you can read newly posted entries with your blog reader, like Bloglines.


    My programmers have just started to post my reports and photographs. But I've already turned almost 200 potential blog entries over to them. Soon, you will be able to find all the inspiration you need at "Fitness and Photography for Fun" for your exercise.