Diabetes Awareness

How a Virtual Racing Platform Helps Combat Diabetes

Anila Wadhera Anila Wadhera
Nov 2021

national diabetes awareness month
According to the CDC, 34.2 million people in the U.S. (10.5% of the population) have diabetes. Additionally, 88 million people in the U.S. (34.5% of the population) have prediabetes. With staggeringly high cases in both the U.S. and across the globe, the significance of diabetes awareness and education grows in magnitude with every passing year.
The month of November is a crucial time to get educated, find resources, and alert those in our communities of their risk. For non-profits engaged with this cause, this November - National Diabetes Awareness Month, is the time to raise awareness and donations to fund their educational and support related programs. Read more about how virtual fitness campaigns can be a boon for those grappling with this condition.
52%

Did you know that in-person races cost approximately 52 cents for each dollar they fundraise? Virtual races in comparison only cost around 15 cents on a dollar raised.

Interested in starting a virtual race?

6 tips to Manage Diabetes with Food and Exercise

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to properly process and use glucose from your food, i.e., how the body turns food into energy. Per the CDC, if you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or any insulin, or it can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. Keeping your blood sugar levels within the recommended range can be challenging, as they can fluctuate unexpectedly.
Healthy eating and regular exercise are the cornerstones of overall well-being — but if you have diabetes, you need to educate yourself about how foods affect your blood sugar levels and how appropriate exercise can help you become fitter. While diabetes self management is straightforward, you must talk to your health care team about how to best coordinate meals, exercise, medication, and other lifestyle changes in your regime. Below are some recommendations from Mayo Clinic and the American Diabetes Association on managing diabetes with diet and exercise that you should be aware of:
  1. Well-balanced meals - As much as possible, plan for every meal to have a good mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats and in the right proportion. Choose your carbs wisely as some carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are better than others.
  2. Meal and medication Proportion - Too little food may result in dangerously low blood sugar, and too much of it may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high.
  3. Cut sugar-sweetened beverages - Sugar-sweetened beverages tend to be high in calories and offer little nutrition. As they cause blood sugar to rise quickly, it's best to avoid these types of drinks if you have diabetes, unless you are experiencing a low blood sugar level.
  4. Exercise for adults - Diabetic adults should engage in 150 min or more moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity weekly. Spread it over at least three days per week, and don't take more than two consecutive days of break. Lesser duration (minimum 75 min/week) of vigorous-intensity or interval training is usually sufficient for younger and more physically fit individuals.
  5. Children and adolescents - Children and adolescents with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should engage in 60 min/day or more of moderate or vigorous exercise, at least three days/week. This includes aerobic activity, with vigorous, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities.
  6. Flexibility training for older adults - Older adults with diabetes can benefit from flexibility training and balance training done two to three times per week. Older adults can also include yoga and tai chi to increase flexibility, muscular strength, and balance based on individual preference.

Virtual Fitness Challenges Help Combat Diabetes and Create Good Health

Raising awareness to help people with diabetes achieve their fitness goals is the best way to promote community well-being and gather support. Charity Footprints specializes in helping organizations (and other support groups) create and manage virtual fitness events. Our events, based on our proprietary R.A.C.E.S methodology (acronym for Rewards, Accountability, Competition, Ease of use, Sense of purpose), help individual participants stay compliant with their fitness and fundraising goals. Additionally, our events help host organizations raise awareness and funds toward advancing research and finding cures for their community. The best part? You can do it anytime , anywhere! Here’s how:
  1. Choose a physical activity you enjoy doing - You’re more likely to stick with an exercise plan if it’s invigorating and also suits your abilities. It will be hard to step on a treadmill and stay motivated to do it every day if you don't enjoy walking on it. Yet, if you like brisk walks outdoors, you’re likely to make time for it every day. Try new activities to keep the fitness regime fun, fresh, and exciting.
  2. Pair up with a buddy to increase accountability - Invite your friends, colleagues, or family members to join the challenge with you. Having someone to exercise with helps take your mind off the effort you need to exercise and can also serve as a great motivation tool to keep doing better every day. Team up with a partner who will hold you accountable and encourage you to show up for your exercise as per your specific needs.
  3. Schedule your sweat sessions - Block your calendar, especially if you tend to let the day slip away from you. Having exercise on your daily to-do list ensures you prioritize it. If it helps, you can also break up your routine into smaller chunks spread throughout the day, such as - 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes before lunch, and 10 minutes before or after dinner.
  4. Prepare for your workout a day in advance - Pull out your morning workout clothes before you hit the sack at night. You could even sleep in them, just in case ;). If you struggle to rise with the alarm, you might want to pack your gym bag to grab and go when you leave in the morning.
  5. Create a Donor Stewardship Plan
    Create a strong donor journey map to onboard new donors, express gratitude, and use their data for future campaigns. Optimize your website with an easy-to-navigate donor page and form.
  6. Check your blood sugar pre and post workout - Observe how your body reacts to different workouts (their length and intensity). This will motivate you to stick with what works best. Also, be sure to keep your glucose tablets/juice handy in case you feel shaky or anxious during your workout.
  7. Reward yourself healthy for breaking a sweat - Celebrate milestones, such as sticking to your plan for a particular duration (one week, one month, two months), with healthy treats or new fitness gear, or taking your fitness goals to the next level.

TAKEAWAY

Following a proper diabetes exercise program helps in efficient management of this condition. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities — such as walking, taking steps, gardening, yoga can improve your blood sugar. If you are a non-profit working for diabetes awareness, get in touch with us today to learn about our virtual walk, step, run challenges!
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