Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Taking Your Diabetes On A Cruise

by Jan Chait

This cruise included such diverse activities as yoga, stretch class, circuit training, body sculpting, group walking, and power walking. Personal trainers also were available. While most amenities are included in the cost of the cruise, there may be a charge for some classes or for a personal trainer.

According to the fitness director on this cruise, the fitness center professionals were all trained in sports science and familiar with the limitations that occur with medical conditions. However, to be on the safe side, make sure you know what your particular limitations are. For example, people who have some forms of neuropathy and people who have proliferative retinopathy or have recently had laser treatment for retinopathy are cautioned against performing certain exercises. Don’t count on ship personnel to know what is and isn’t advisable for you, and don’t be afraid to decline an activity your doctor has advised you against.

If you’re not into formal exercise, try dancing. With the variety of nightclub venues on large ships, you’re sure to find one that fits your style. And if you don’t know how to dance, this might be a good time to take a class. Yes, they’re available, too.

Unless the fitness center or spa has a pool where you can swim against a current, however, you probably won’t be doing laps. Why? Cruise ship pools are wet, but miniscule. You’ll never look at one and say, “Wow! That’s huge!” The hot tubs, however, are sufficient for soaking away the aches and pains of unfamiliar activity. And massages, available in the spa, are also good for relaxation.

Children and teenagers may not be allowed in the fitness centers on cruise ships, but there are often youth programs that offer plenty of activities to get kids moving. Some ships even offer shore excursions just for teens.

OK. Here’s the difficult part: food. It’s everywhere, it’s available all the time, and it’s already been paid for. In addition to the dining room(s), there’s pizza, burgers, and ice cream by the pool, a buffet, perhaps some specialty restaurants (which may have an extra charge), midnight buffets, 24-hour room service, maybe a patisserie or afternoon tea, and the list goes on.

“It’s bad,” sighed Sara, one of my dining companions, who also has Type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, there’s no better place to be if you have dietary restrictions. Honest. In addition to including a different theme at each night’s seating, menus also list other selections, which can include vegetarian choices, a spa menu, and grilled options.

Gluten-free? Low sodium? Something else? Not a problem. Just let the maître d’ know what you need. You’ll get to preview the next day’s menu, make your choice, and the chef will, if possible, alter the recipe to fit your needs. The maître d’ will let you know which dishes can’t be altered to fit your needs. It takes a bit of the worry away from eating in unfamiliar places during your travels. It’s best, however, not to wait until you board the ship to let the food staff know about your special needs: Tell your travel agent when you book your cruise, and be prepared to submit your requirements in writing.

I had let the cruise line know I have diabetes, and on the first night at dinner, the maître d’ discreetly asked me if I would like to see the next night’s menu so the kitchen could prepare dishes to my needs. I assured him I could make my own selections from the menu and vary my insulin doses accordingly; nothing more was said.

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Also in this article:
Cruise Checklist



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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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