Get Moving

Living in a cold country like Canada makes getting moving challenging at times- especially with this week’s damp August weather. When I am at the cottage there are plenty of things that are tempting to do. Last week I went for an amazing bike road on the back roads- smelling the clover in the fields, dodging garter snakes on the curb, and intrigued some goats in the meadow.

No matter how old or young, there are many ways to get started. Try and  reflect on when you are more likely to enjoy activity in busy Southern Ontario with time being chewed up on simple things like  commuting, which is a way of life here.

Reflect on what you like to do- it makes it less of a chore that way. Dancing,  swimming, gardening, walking- it all counts. Social aspects of group activities  are underestimated. Local community recreation centers have relatively  cheap weekly programs to explore. My friends dragged me to zumba and as we  stiffly tried to emulate the instructor’s bobbing hips and sensual rhythms, the  laughter made my heart rate go up and was good for the soul.

Having an exercise buddy- makes you accountable and motivates you to show up. None of us like to let down our friends! Rain or shine, I meet my buddy Mel for a walk on the waterfront trail. Good way to decompress after a long day.

For those who don’t like exercise, fool yourself into going by telling yourself- “I’m only going to go for 5 minutes, and I can stop when I want to”. Truthfully, I am pretty stubborn, and on occasion my pillow tries to talk me out of a morning run. I use the 5 minute rule and I have never turned back to date! Most of us drag ourselves through our routine- getting moving helps turn around the fatigue that was the obstacle in the first place. Enough of my stories: I want to hear from you.

The Canadian Diabetes Association has identified some common barriers to physical activity. Why don’t you reflect on your top three barriers that stop you from being physically active. If you want to share, I bet other people feel the same way. In fact, they may have tips on what has worked for them in the past. Here are some common barriers…

I have no time. Every minute of physical activity has health benefits, especially for people with diabetes. Start with 5-10 minutes @ different times throughout the day. This may be all you need to get going.

I am too tired. Regular physical activity will give you more energy and help you to sleep better. It may be hard to get started, but once you start, you’ll feel better. In the end, it will be worth the effort.

I do not have the motivation. Start with 5 minutes of physical activity and allow yourself to stop if you are not enjoying it. That way you can at least start, and once you are into it, you may want to keep on going.

It costs too much to join a gym. You don’t need a gym membership or a personal trainer to be active. You can do simple things around the house or in your neighbourhoods that do not cost money- go for a short walk, or start a project in the yard.

I cannot be physically active on my own. Start by sharing your activity plans with friends or family. You may be surprised by the support you receive. Doing your activity with others can help to get you started and keep you going. Your local recreation centre, senior’s centre, or Diabetes Care Team may also be able to help you find activity partners.

Bottom line… getting more physically active is a challenge and often we don’t know where to start.

START right here, right now.

START slowly; have fun.

ASK your health care team to help with the first steps

Sick Day Management

Colds, the flu or other illnesses can hit us at the worst of times.  When you have diabetes, it’s important to know what to do when you aren’t feeling well in terms of medications and food choices.

If you are sick, but still able to eat:

Take your diabetes medications as usual.

Eat your usual meals and snacks (if you have them) at your usual times if you can.

Test your blood sugar level more often.

If your blood sugars are running higher than normal, try to drink more sugar free fluids, like water, tea, clear broths or diet pops.  This can help to flush out some of the extra sugars in your blood.


If you cannot eat your usual meals and snacks, make sure you have one of the following every hour to reduce the risk of a having a low blood sugar, and to help with your hydration:

1/2 cup (125 mL) juice

1/2 cup (125 mL) regular pop

1/2 cup (125 mL) regular Jell-O

1 whole popsicle

You may need to test your blood sugars more often if you are unable to eat or drink.  You may need to adjust your insulin or other oral medications.


If you are sick and cannot drink enough fluids to keep yourself hydrated (especially if you have vomiting and diarrhea), call your health care provider or go to your nearest emergency room.  Also, you may want to HOLD certain medications as they can cause your kidney function to worsen or result in side effects:

Here is a list of some of the types of medications that may need to be held or adjusted during your illness:

ACE inhibitors or ARBs (ask your provider if you are not sure)

Diuretics (water pills)

Diabetes medications including: Metformin, glyburide, gliclazide (Diamicron MR)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (which are commonly found in pain medications like Advil or over the counter cold remedies)

You should speak to your physician, nurse practitioner or pharmacist to determine which of your medications should be stopped when you are ill.  It’s usually best to discuss a plan for your medications at your regular diabetes visit before you are ill. That way you have an individualized plan if you become ill.

If you have type 1 diabetes, check for urine ketones every 4 hours.  If your level is high, contact your health care provider or go to the nearest emergency room.

The Canadian Diabetes Association website is a great resource for information on sick day management at: