Defeat Diabetes® Month
Together We Can…Defeat Diabetes®
Diabetes is a life-altering and life-threatening disease. People diagnosed with the disease are at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, as well as incurring serious financial and emotional hardship.
Knowing the risks, recognizing the warning signs, and pursuing healthier eating habits and regular physical exercise, is critical to preventing diabetes or effectively managing the disease.
Lifestyle changes can be tough. So, we’re giving you an entire month of activities to get you started on the right track. Some of the regular activities include: New Fruit Monday, Take the Stairs Tuesday, Water Wednesday, Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday, and New Veggie Friday.
Below is a calendar of events to take you through the month. The links take you to articles, downloads, tools, cartoons and more at the DDF site, as well as some links to other sites with interesting information.
Each day review the activities for the day and click the links to get more information or to complete the activity.
1 Experience the annual bird migration
- Bird "flyways" provide an opportunity to see seasonal visitors that might not be around all year. Bird Migration's nifty website
provides regional breakdown's of migratory birds, migration times, pictures, sounds and thumbnail information on each species. Need to know where you can see birds? Regional, state
, national parks
and Audubon Sanctuaries
are all great places.
- Going meatless, even once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also reduce your carbon footprint and conserve fresh water and fossil fuel.
Back To Top 3 Take the Stairs Tuesday
- Walking up and down the stairs is good cardiovascular exercise, that's why so many gyms have StairMaster machines. So, every Tuesday, make it a habit to bypass the elevator and take the stairs in as many places as you can. Be sure to add a few extra minutes in case you have to take it slow.
While you are taking the stairs, be sure to BREATHE! Breathing properly ALL of the time, not just when exercising, is a critical component to get the most out of physical activity and life. Oxygen is the most important element needed to sustain life and breathing is the only way to
Tension, poor posture, smoking and poor breathing habits can cause insufficient oxygen intake. Deep and relaxed breathing delivers oxygen to all cells and facilitates efficient clearing of carbon dioxide.
Take a long deep breath in through your nose making a special effort to fill your lungs from the bottom to the top. This, when done correctly, will push out your belly. The process is similar to blowing up a balloon. Pause briefly (1 – 3 seconds). Exhale slowly through your mouth. Make sure the inward and outward breaths take the same length of time. Continue to breathe in this fashion for several minutes. Repeat several times daily. You can do it anywhere: on the bus or train, in the car, at your desk or even walking down the street!
4 Try a New Whole Grain Wednesday
- The recently released USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage Americans to increase their intake of whole grain foods to at least three servings per day.
– An ancient grain filled with nutrition.
Sugary Drinks Sugary drinks are the largest single source of calories in the American diet and account for half of all added sugars Americans consume!
5 Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday
. Did you know that most of our errands are less than a mile from home, yet we drive? If you must drive to conduct your errands, at least park in the back of the lot - even 5 and 10 minute bursts of activity help!
Organize Your Diabetes - it takes a lot of work to “organize diabetes”. Not only do you have to organize all the “Tools of the Trade”, (meters, test strips, lancets, syringes, pump supplies, medications, etc.), you also have to keep track of diagnosis and the medications to go with them, daily glucose readings, blood pressure, A1c’s, weight, carbs, exercise durations and a host of other stuff.
Have your family start logging
their daily physical activity. A new study suggests many parents overestimate the amount of physical activity their kids are getting.
For people with diabetes and those at risk for developing diabetes, regular physical activity is crucial for long term good health. So, it’s important to figure out ways to incorporate regular physical activity
into your daily routine.
Tai Chi is sometimes described as "meditation in motion" because it reduces stress and promotes serenity through gentle movements. To do tai chi, you perform a series of movements called forms. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. Get started here
Visit a Farmer's Market
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Although many large grocery store chains have excellent produce departments, many of the fruits and vegetables are from foreign countries, are grown with pesticides or irradiated so that they can survive the trip from the farm to the grocery store.
A local farmer's market provides an important link between your community and fresh food sources. Citizens have an opportunity to interact with the farmers whose food they eat. Small farmers, generally, also utilize more eco-friendly farming techniques. Children get in touch with seeing food that isn't canned, frozen or processed. Local Harvest
provides a searchable database for farmer's markets, local farms and other local sustainable food sources.
Defeat Diabetes® News Video - Farmer's Market Diversity
Defeat Diabetes® News Video - Organic vs Conventional Gardening
Have a little spare time between Easter church services and dinner today? How about taking the kids to an Easter egg hunt? Easter Egg Hunt
An Outdoor Scavenger Hunt is a great way to explore the great outdoors, spend some time with family and friends, and get some exercise and sunshine. Whether it's a city, county, state or national park; the beach; a local river or even the local playground - it's an opportunity to get more in touch with the world around you. Here is a list of items to scavenge
Another option is to take a walk. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing and the ability to open the front door! Looking for a special place to walk? Here's a few links: Traildino
- largest database of trails in the world by continent, country and region. Trailink
has information on more than 30,000 miles of bike trails, walking trails, equestrian trails, and hiking and running trails, including interactive trail maps, trail descriptions, pictures and more.
9 Family Dinners Matter
- Idealized in the 1950's, the family dinner used to be an important ritual in our daily lives. This important ritual can and should be a part of your family routine. Learn why
Don’t Forget Today is Meatless Monday! Meatless Monday Recipe – Cauliflower Lentil Curry
10 Take the Stairs Tuesday
- Get a pedometer to keep track of your steps. Studies have shown that wearing and tracking your steps makes people be more active. Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
Learning to read a food label is an easy way to help you make good food choices. Get started here!
11 Water Wednesday
– break the sugary drink habit today by just drinking old fashion H2O. Unless you live someplace where they frack, tap water is okay and helps save your wallet and the environment.
Try a Legume Day – Legumes should be a regular part of your diet. What are legumes?
You might already have a few favorites. They make an economical and nutritious alternative to meat.
A recent study concluded that for every hour of screen time (TV, video games and computer) you shorten your life by 22 minutes. Ironically, the average one hour television show has between 16 – 22 minutes of commercials. So, if you are watching TV, grab a few of those minutes back by adding some activity during commercial breaks. During a one hour TV show you can squeeze in a lot of physical activity. You can: run in place, jump rope, do crunches, jumping jacks, squats or push-ups.
12 Walk, bike or take mass transit to work.
Many of us live within a short distance of where we work. People who take mass transit to work are considered active because most commutes also require a walk from the home to the transit stop and office. Not possible? Then don’t forget to Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot!
People with diabetes are at risk of losing one of the most precious of their senses: sight. “People unnecessarily lose their vision yearly because of diabetes complications that can often be prevented through early detection and timely treatment,” said Robert Layman, O.D. and Chair of the American Optometric Association’s Diabetes Eye Care Project Team. Learn how to protect your vision
Islets of Humor™ Cartoon – Three Blind Mice
13 Try a New Veggie Friday
– Spinach is nutritious and brimming with antioxidants. You can eat it raw or cooked. Spinach
and spinach flashcard
! Bowling is enjoyed by over 95 million people worldwide, making it one of the most popular sports in the world. Bowling is an easy sport people of all ages and physical abilities can participate in year round.
14 Visit a Garden
- Although you can visit a garden almost anytime and find something wonderful, April is a particularly good time to visit, because so many things are blooming. Botanical Gardens
, specialty gardens and even historic properties are good choices for a spring garden visit. It’s an active event that allows you plenty of opportunity for exploring, sharing, conversation and some easy physical activity outdoors.
Public gardens, parks and arboretums are usually free or inexpensive. Private and specialty gardens may have a stiffer price tag so don’t forget to check for rates!
Plan/Plant Your Garden - Not only does a vegetable garden provide an amazing cost saving for food, it is a much better use of available land than grass or ornamental plantings. Gard
ening also provides healthy physical activity that every member of the family can participate in, regardless of age.
April is National Gardening Month, so join the celebration. Whether it's a small container garden with a single tomato plant, a square foot garden or something larger, help make your community a greener healthier place in which to live. Gardens Large and Small
- a downloadable article that includes resources to help you plan your garden.
National Gardening Association
- offers the Web's largest and most respected array of gardening content for consumers and educators, ranging from general information and publications to lessons and grants. Kids gardening
- an offshoot of the National Gardening Association, this website provides information for kids, parents and teachers to make the gardening experience more fun. Shirley's garden
- Tips for gardening from veteran gardener, Shirley Barriger.
15 Go Fly a Kite
- The perfect way to welcome in spring, grab some fresh air, a little dashing about and participating in an ancient human activity. There are lots of kiting events scheduled nationwide between March 31st and May 6th look for one near you
or head for someplace with open space like a park, beach, field or even a parking lot free of overhead wires and trees and let your kite fly. You can round out the event by bringing along a small picnic. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
Visit a local hobby shop and pick up an inexpensive kite and string or visit www.hobbylinc.com and you can find a few different set-ups for between $10 - 20 16 Try a New Fruit Monday
- Mangos are sweet and delicious - Mango
and Mango flashcard
Portion Control – No matter how healthy your meal, if your calorie intake exceeds the amount of calories burned, you will gain weight. In the United States we seem to super size portion sizes, especially at our restaurants, where food cost is the lowest part of overhead. Learn more about portion control
Meatless Monday Recipe - Spring Veggie Pesto Penne
(courtesy of Meatless Monday)
You could substitute spelt penne for the whole wheat penne in this recipe or walnuts for the pine nuts with good results too.
17 Take the Stairs Tuesday
- Stop at the top, while holding onto the handrail, place your toes at the edge of the steps and lower your heels. This is a great stretching exercise.
18 Water Wednesday
- Sugary drinks are the largest single source of calories in the American diet and account for half of all added sugars Americans consume. So drink water today and lighten up on your calorie intake!
Try a New Whole Grain - Millet
- Most of us are familiar with millet, though they might not associate it as people food. Millet is most often seen as the main ingredient in bird seed –though, millet is not just "for the birds."
19 Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot Thursday
. If you are shopping forego the cart if you can, this will add a little weight to your workout, which is good for your bones.
According to the National Institutes of Health hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease. Catherine Cowie, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), suggests that people with diabetes should consider having their hearing tested. Learn More About Hearing Loss
. 20 New Veggie Friday
– Peas and more peas, so many to choose from. Peas
- Peas flashcard
is a great way for people of all ages to get and stay in shape. Experts agree that dancing is a true sport and a valid form of exercise. Dancing uses, virtually, all of your body’s muscles: feet, calves, thighs, upper and lower back, abdominals, shoulders, neck and even arms get a workout while dancing.
Shy? Turn on the music and dance when no one is looking!
21 Take a Trip to the Zoo, Animal Park, Aquarium, Nature Preserve, Wild Life Refuge Area, Wetland or Nature Center
. Not only will you get some great exercise walking around looking at the exhibits, but spring is also the perfect time to check out all the cute baby animals! Wetlands and wild life refuges
are great places to watch wildlife of all types.
22 Today is Earth Day so do ANYTHING outdoors
, jump rope
, or throw a Frisbee. While you are out enjoying nature pick up any trash you see – mother nature will thank you.
Turn off the TV Week. Between television, computer use, video game playing and hundreds of mobile applications we spend way too much time staring at a video screen. So, this week cut out television viewing and video game playing, keep computer use to what is necessary for business or school and get outside!
Don’t think too much video is a problem? Then, use this log
for your family for a week to determine how much time they are spending in front of a video screen. Tips on how to reduce screen time
24 Nutrient Content Claims
- With the new focus on health, and the preponderance of “low” diets -- low fat, low sodium, and low cholesterol, the food industry has been making claims about their products that have led to much confusion in the marketplace. This often makes it difficult for consumers to make appropriate choices about packaged foods. Learn the ins and outs of nutrient content claims
Take the Stairs Tuesday – Today, add a little more of challenge by doing every other flight double time!
Water Wednesday - 60 – 70% of the human body is made up of water. Staying hydrated is good for you.
Most of us spend far too much time at desks. But, just because we’ve become office dwellers doesn’t mean we can’t squeeze some physical activity in at our desks. Start adding a few to your routine each day. Exercises to do at your desk
26 Walk From the Back of the Parking Lot
– By parking in the back of the lot you’ll get a spot quicker and save gas not circling for a spot near the store entrance.
is one of the key health metrics you need to keep track of to make sure you don’t suffer some of the complications of diabetes. High blood pressure is a lot like diabetes in some respects, you can have it for years and not know it, and the entire time it damages your heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of your body.
27 Try a New Veggie Friday
– buttery, creamy and delectable.
Today is Arbor Day
so plant a tree today! Trees are wonderful for our environment. They create green and shady spaces, help clean our atmosphere and, if properly selected, can also provide us with blossoms in the spring and fruit in the summer or fall. If planting for Arbor Day or any other time please consider planting a fruit tree
28 Today Try a New Physical Activity
- There are 1440 minutes in every day. Spend just 30 of those minutes, or 2% of the day being physically active. There are literally hundreds of physical activities and sports that individuals can participate in - no matter how large or small the community. This Sunday try something you haven’t done before or revisit something that you’ve tried in the past. Possibilities include bowling
or going to the batting cage. For more ideas
29 Family Physical Activity Links
- With this handy reference tool
, your family will never lack ideas for things to do in the great outdoors!
Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a non-profit 501(C)(3) charity dedicated to creating awareness about and preventing diabetes. If you have found any of the information we’ve provided to you this month valuable please take the time to make a donation
so that we can continue our work to Defeat Diabetes®.
Updated March 26, 2012