Erin Spineto was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996. She has had easy years and hard years. When she ran out of motivation after fighting hard for twelve years, she turned to adventure to provide the renewed motivation she sought. She has written two books on diabetes and adventure, Islands and Insulin and Adventure On. She writes about her adventures at SeaPeptide.com.
Adventure is an amazing tool to increase your motivation to take amazing care of your diabetes. It lets you hook your diabetes care onto the excitement that comes from new challenges.
But how do you find the right adventure for you? Answer three easy questions and you’ll be on your way.
What’s your sport?
One of the best tools to manage your blood sugars is exercise. It makes your body more sensitive to insulin, strengthens your cardiovascular system which can take a hit from diabetes, and reduces the stress that comes with having a chronic condition.
So your adventure should have an exercise component to it. But make sure it’s an activity that you love. If you hate running, don’t pick a marathon. If you are afraid of the water, then swimming isn’t for you.
But if you remember skateboarding as a child and you loved it, maybe it’s time to pick up a board. Or if you had so much fun hiking with your best friends in college, it may be time to dust off those hiking boots.
What do you love to do? What activities did you love as a child? What would you love to try? When was the last time you truly had fun while moving?
What’s your size?
Now that you have an activity, it’s time to pick a size. The best size for an adventure is just a little bigger than what you have already done. If you go too big, you are likely to get discouraged or get yourself into trouble with an adventure that is well beyond your experience and expertise. If your adventure is too small, it won’t inspire you to prepare.
So think about the biggest thing you have done and pick something just a little bit bigger.
If you’ve run a 5K, maybe shoot for a 10K, a half marathon, or maybe a 5K every day for a week. If you’ve done a long day hike, maybe it’s time to turn that into a three-day hike.
Whatever it is that you have done, go farther.
Where’s your place?
Now it’s time to pick a place to go. A 5K that starts at your front door isn’t really an adventure. It’s a workout. So pick someplace new.
It doesn’t have to be far. You could drive up to those nearby mountains, or to the lake a few hours away. Or, if you’re really adventurous, it could be the other end of the earth.
What matters is that it is someplace that you have wanted to see or one that brings back fond memories and that you’d want to see again from a new vantage point.
Start planning, training, and sharing
Now that you have an adventure in mind, it’s time to start planning and training. This is my favorite part of the whole experience. It should be a time of learning about your sport and about how it affects your diabetes. It is a time to learn from those around you who are doing it and have lived to tell the tale.
This is the time when you will practice your sport and see the rewards. Your body will become more sensitive to insulin. You will learn new skills. You will probably build some new muscle and maybe even shed some insulation. And you will feel stronger and more confident than you did before.
Make sure as you go through this part that you share. Share with your friends and family. They can help support and encourage you.
Share with the DOC (diabetes online community). They can share their knowledge with you and you can encourage and inspire others to find their own adventure.
And be sure to share that amazing feeling you get when you are standing at the finish line of your own adventure. That feeling is one that will stay with you well after you have finished and will power you on to continue to fight this lifelong battle we call diabetes.
Add a comment below and tell us about your favorite adventure, or the one you’re dreaming of now.