Baby Steps and Fixing Flats

Exercise hasn't been a favorite activity of mine in many years, despite my Living with Type 1 diabetes.

Not since my secondary school days when sports - soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming - were a routine part of my schedule. College turned me into an exercise slacker, with only an occasional round of golf or even softball in the warmer months of the year. Walking and biking were occasional time-passers once we moved to Indiana in 2004, but even that's diminished in recent years and I've haven't been exercising much at all.

Even taking the dog for a daily walk has dropped down on my priority list, and brief walks during the work-day in downtown Indianapolis have moved the way of the dinosaurs.

Lately, this lack of exercise has been on my mind for a few reasons.

1.) My pants are getting tight.. No, they've been too tight for awhile. Now, it's gotten to the point where I've had to up my pant sizes and even secure a new pair of suit pants to compensate. This isn't exactly a trend that makes one feel better about themself.
2.) The dog wants to walk more. Tossing the tennis ball around the yard just doesn't cut it and she's eager to get more collar-and-leash time now that the warmer months are nearly upon us.

3.) Every time I see my Endo, she asks the standard question: What do you do for exercise? I'm really tired of trying to stretch the truth and attempt to convince myself that exercise is actually a part of my world. It's not.
4.) Friends in the Diabetes Online Community have been writing about the idea of exercise more recently and how they've found it energizing, relaxing, and overall good for their diabetes management and mental health. (For example: Scott, er Turkish Steve, has become the Guru of Exercise thanks to Ginger's lifestyle coaching, and his daily tweets and Facebook updates about hitting the b-ball court inspire me to do better.) A recent #sweatbetes session in D.C. where I wasn't participating made this personal desire to get back into the exercise scene seem even more pressing. Not to mention the fact that meeting Olympic gold medal swimmer and Type 1 diabetic Gary Hall Jr. made me realize that, despite my four years of competitive swimming once upon a time in high school, I wouldn't be able to make a lap if I tried to jump into a pool now.

So, after mulling my own world of exercise (or lack thereof), I've decided it's time to forge a new Exercise Path. This also coincides perfectly with the March DSMA Blog Carnival that has been all about exercise. Even though it's in the final hours, I've managed to tag on before it ended.

Winnie models the running shoes & fun D-Hat
I'll soon be sporting as I start out on
the first part of my Exercise Path Ahead!

You have to start somewhere, and so it's time for me to take those first Baby Steps and get a moving!

First, we're going to start walking every day. We have an active and always-excited black lab, who LOVES being O-U-T-S-I-D-E and going on W-A-L-K-S. So, we're going to take advantage of that built-in exercise resource and start with walks around the block. Then, we'll expand to a few blocks lumped together. Then the many streets on this side of our subdivision, before ultimately going for the full loop that encompasses the entire community of hundreds of houses.

Not only is this good for the health generally and diabetes management, but it will also help me feel more in-shape once the local JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes come around in the fall. My running shoes are ready to hit the pavement!

That's the first step, but there is more to this whole Exercise Path Ahead...

Secondly, I'm going to start biking. This comes on the heels of many recent discussions about bicycling within the diabetes community, from the local Indiana Cure Chasers to those with Team Type 1 who ride across America. There's inspiration from those who bike the many JDRF Rides to Cure Diabetes scattered across the country, such as the crew on the western side of my homestate of Michigan. Or even the recent meeting in Washington D.C. of a diabetic dad who with his two adult children are devoted participants in the Death Valley Ride to Cure Diabetes. All of that has motivated me to get back into bicycling, maybe not at the same level as the above-mentioned but at least the low-key style around my community.

Yes, those are cobwebs on
my deflated front tire...

We own bikes, but have rarely used them through the years. Evident by the fact that my bike currently has two flat tires... You may even notice some cobwebs lining the tires, thanks to the frequency that we actually ride our bikes. But that's going to change.

My first biking task involves getting those tires inflated this weekend and make sure the bike is all in order. Then, I'll start my biking adventures on the same small loop around the neighborhood - a night or two during the week, then the weekend, then ultimately wherever the mood and bike paths take me! Again, maybe this isn't Death Valley - but it's my start to getting my flat feet and tires back into regular action.

Doing this will also serve as motivation and preparation for my first-ever American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure, scheduled for June here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I've pledged to participate, in the spirit of making exercise a part of my life again.

So, there it is: The Exercise Path Ahead. Even though it's way overdue, I say it's better now than never. And I'm excited to say that I've already gotten started and am doing my best to not slack.

Baby Steps is the way to start, as we know from the wisdom of Dr. Leo Marvin in What About Bob? Set small reasonable goals one step at a time. One little step at a time and anything is possible.

Let it begin!


Unknown said…
YOU.CAN.SO.DO.THIS.MIKE! Love your attitude and honesty and your desire to make a positive change in your life.
Angela Toucan said…
biking and walking are the 2 best forms of exercise ever - well-done on making a decision to start.
Valerie said…
Yes! Do it! It's always good to have a clear I need to get on that. Good luck! :)
Unknown said…
I agree with them. just stay positive and know that you can do it!
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Scott S said…
I can certainly empathize, although I am also doing double-duty at work which is (unfortunately) a convenient excuse, the reality is it doesn't eradicate type 1's need for insulin as lame-O spammers would so boldly claim. For me, its as much about finding the time to do it as it is about actually doing so.
Sarah said…
Yay, you! What a great plan. Spring is always a welcoming time to move more, with the sunshine and extended hours of light and all. ;) Baby steps are awesome, and they're taking you in a good direction. You can do it.
What a great thought out plan. our house of 2 type 1's , an excited 5 year old a 6 year dog who thinks she is a puppy and an overweight mommy might start following your plan. THANKS for the insperation!! Ill be cheering you on!!
Karen said…
Awesome!!! I've been thinking more about exercise lately too, for most of the same reasons you mentioned. (Yay for D-OC inspiration, boo for too tight pants). Love your Exercise Path - and I bet the doggie will be excited for more walks!

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