The Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF) has designated April as ‘Defeat Diabetes Month,’ and you will find activities and ideas on the DDF website for every day of the month. Incorporating more activity into your day is one of the most common ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, and if you or someone you know already has diabetes, daily physical exercise may mitigate some of the effects of the disease and improve overall quality of life. Finding the motivation to be more active is easier said than done; however, one way to get started is by signing up for a diabetes-related community event that highlights an activity you may already be doing every day. Walking and biking are two forms of exercise that allow you to improve your health with a low risk of injury, and in Oregon you may participate in the Tour de Cure cycling event and/or the Step out to Stop Diabetes walk, taking place in mid-summer and early fall, so you have plenty of time to prepare yourself for either challenges. Here are the details of these events, as well as suggestions for how to train:
Tour de Cure, July 28th, 2012: Become a Red Rider and join Team Red to raise money for the fight against diabetes. Starting at Hillsboro Station, participants of the Portland Tour de Cure choose their routes based on their fitness level, starting with a 5-mile loop and advancing to a 100-mile distance. Routes take you along the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, with plenty of rest stops and volunteers to provide food and beverages for tired and hungry riders. There is a minimum fundraising benchmark of $150, and a $15 registration fee until May 1st. Tour de Cure training rides take place every Saturday with the exception of Memorial Day weekend, up until the day of the event. A training ride schedule is available on the website, with longer and shorter rides scheduled to accommodate all riding levels.
Step Out to Stop Diabetes, September 22, 2012: Become a Red Strider and join a team, start a team, or walk individually to help the American Diabetes Association provide community-based education programs and fund essential diabetes research. The Oregon Step Out event is held in Portland and starts in the Rose Quarter in front of the Memorial Coliseum, and walkers may choose from 1, 3, or 6-mile options along the waterfront. Registration is free and there is no fundraising minimum. To train for the Step Out, join the official Portland Step Out training program, led by Jesse Jornum, a Biggest Loser Season 11 contestant. Walking with Jesse meets every Saturday morning at 8am. Training walks start at Broughton Beach, off of Marine Drive, and the route is an out-and-back, so you may choose your distance, up to 8 miles.
Take advantage of an opportunity to connect with members of your community who are affected by diabetes and you may have found the right incentive to improve your health while also contributing to the fight against diabetes. While you’re training, also take some time to check out the Defeat Diabetes Foundation website for information on the signs of diabetes, proper diabetes self-management, healthy diet tips, and reducing stress. Diabetes is a chronic disease, but if you equip yourself with the right information it is possible to help yourself and others to live the best life possible.