Diabetes and Exercise: Overcoming Obstacles

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • This weekend I decided to go for a jog. I've been out for one short run since Sienna was born, and was feeling like getting back into running.

    Saturday, around 5:00 p.m., I headed out. I wasn't running fast, of course, but I felt great! It's amazing how running form and breathing patterns stick with you, even after a nearly two year absence from running. Once you've been a "runner" in your life, that muscle memory and mental attitude are just a part of you. It was amazing to tap into that after so much time had passed.

    So, I'm running through the park near my home and feeling pretty great. I noticed a couple dogs converging on the concrete path ahead of me. The dogs were checking one another out and their owners started to chat. I went around the group and run onto the grass. Suddenly, my ankle gave out on me and I sprawled out on the grass, like I was sliding into home plate. My ankle hurt terribly and I was disoriented for a second. The people with the dogs asked if I was alright and I answered, "I don't know."

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    I'd accidently stepped into a squirrel hole and twisted my ankle. You know when you first twist your ankle and you feel like you're never going to be able to walk again? I seriously had my doubts that I'd be able to put any weight on my right ankle when I first stood up.

    Shaken up, I gingerly applied pressure to my ankle. It hurt a lot, but I could certainly walk. Mentally, I sized up the situation. I was a mile or so from home, with no way to contact Dennis. I felt like crying, but then realized that it wouldn't do any good because no one was there to help me. It was one of those moments where you realize that, as an adult, you have to take care of yourself. So, I started walking home.

    My next thoughts were, "Why me?!" and "Man, this is my first run in months, why did I even bother?" I quickly passed from this train of thought to a new one: "Darn it, this isn't going to ruin my run!" I tried jogging a bit and discovered that it actually hurt a little less to jog than it did to walk. So, I jogged the mile or so back home.

    After a couple days of elevating and icing my ankle, it's still very swollen and sore. I definitely sprained it pretty bad. So, I have it wrapped today and will just deal with the pain until it heals.

    This little mishap reminded me of a few things:

    First of all, running is so good for diabetes management! I neglected to set a temporary basal rate after my run, so I went low that night. Then, I required much less insulin to cover my meals for most of the day Sunday. Once my ankle heals and I can jog again, I'll have to pay close attention to what my blood sugars do after a run, so I can set my basal and boluses appropriately. Now that I'm pumping, I should be able to run without having to eat a bunch afterwards to avoid those recurring lows.

    This accident also reminded me of the importance of positive thinking. Right after I fell, my thoughts instantly went to a negative, frustrated place. The metaphor of picking yourself up when you fall in life, is so true. Falling really does leave you feeling so vulnerable and frustrated. I could have cried and limped home feeling quite sorry for myself. Luckily, the more optimistic part of me kicked in and decided not to let this injury ruin my day.

  • I think these conflicting mindsets can apply to many areas of life, including diabetes management. Obviously, having diabetes isn't desirable. This disease it frustrating, hard, and debilitating at times. However, many people choose to live well with diabetes, rather than succumb to feeling self-pity and defeat.

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    That's not to say that we all don't have moments of feeling down about our condition. After my fall this weekend, I finally cried late Saturday night when I got in bed and my ankle throbbed. My husband attended to my needs and I got to be vulnerable about my injury for a little while.

    Life really is all about balance. When we fall, literally or metaphorically in life, it's okay to have those moments of tears and self-pity. However, the trick is to quickly transition to more positive, proactive thoughts of how you can overcome the obstacle and improve your situation.

Published On: November 07, 2008