Start using a pedometer. Vowing to “exercise more” is a difficult resolution to carry out. Clipping a pedometer to your belt or waistband every morning, on the other hand, is easy, and at the end of each day, you have a numerical readout of how active you were during the day. You may be surprised at how few — or how many — steps you take each day, but at least you know where you stand. When you’re ready, you can take the next step of deciding whether to purposely increase your daily steps. Many people aim for 10,000 steps a day, which is about 5 miles.
Try a new fruit or vegetable. Fruits and vegetables offer numerous nutrition benefits, including fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. While the amounts of various nutrients vary from one fruit or vegetable to the next — with darker-colored produce usually containing more nutrients — consuming a variety is an excellent way to reap a full range of benefits.
2. Seek out a diabetes-related event or activity in your area.
Numerous organizations sponsor events such as walkathons, bike rides, support groups, health fairs, and other activities that are aimed at raising public awareness of diabetes, raising money for diabetes research, or offering education and support to people living with diabetes. Not all of these take place during November, but most will have information available on when and how to sign up for future events.
ADA. The American Diabetes Association holds Step Out walkathons and Tour de Cure bike rides to raise money for educational outreach, advocacy efforts, and research. For the walk, participants are encouraged to raise as much money as possible; for the ride, a minimum dollar amount is required to participate. The ADA also puts on free, daylong diabetes Expos — with lectures, demonstrations, and other educational components — at convention centers around the United States each year. Information on all ADA events and contact information for local chapters can be found online or by calling.
JDRF. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International organizes Walks to Cure Diabetes (many are already scheduled for spring 2012) and Rides to Cure Diabetes (multiday bike rides). For the walks, participants are encouraged to raise as much money as possible; for the rides, a minimum dollar amount is required to participate. The JDRF also supports other types of community fund-raising events organized by individuals. (Anyone may register a community event.)
(888) 533-WALK (for information about walkathons)
(888) 533-9255 (to find your local chapter)
TCOYD. TCOYD, which stands for Taking Control of Your Diabetes, holds a dozen or so daylong educational conferences and health fairs at locations around the United States. The events include lectures, health screenings, informational exhibits, demonstrations of various types, and more for about $25.
(800) 99-TCOYD (8-2693)
3. Seek out special Diabetes Month sales or other offers.
Pharmacies and other stores or service providers often have sales or discounts on diabetes-related items during National Diabetes Month. You may find free or low-cost health services such as blood pressure checks or vision screenings, discounts on diabetes supplies, or discounts on coaching or other educational services.
To find such offers, keep an eye on flyers or other communications from the places where you usually buy your diabetes supplies. Keep an eye also on the Diabetes Self-Management blog, where we’ll post any information on special promotions that we come across.