Friday, 13 July 2012

10 Travel Tips for People with Diabetes

Summer is here and that means summer holidays, camping and sometimes those surprise trips!  For people with diabetes, being prepared for holidays and trips and can reduce your stress and make sure you keep healthy when you get there.

1.      Visit your doctor of health care team several weeks before your holiday.  You will want to discuss and review your medications, meal timing, times zones and if there are any required vaccinations for that area.

2.      Purchase travel insurance and ensure it covers pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes.

3.      Be sure to take an updated copy of your prescriptions medications, including your insulin and consider getting a medic alert bracelet or necklace that indicates you have diabetes and your treatment plan.

4.      Pack  your medication, blood sugar meter and supplies in more than once place (in you’re your luggage and in your carry-on) to make sure you are covered in case your bag is misplaced for a few days or even lost.

5.       Test your blood sugar regularly.  This will help you know if your blood sugars are in the target range.

6.      Stick to your regular mealtime schedule including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wherever you go, pack some snacks (apples, bananas or cheese and crackers) in case you are unable to eat at your next scheduled meal time. Make sure to also take quick-acting sugar such as juice or glucose tablets in case your blood sugar becomes too low.  Make sure someone in your group knows how to recognize signs of a low blood sugar and what to do.

7.      Pack an extra supply of insulin pen/syringes and an extra meter and log book.  Make sure to take a container for sharps disposal.

8.      Wear well worn, closed-toe shoes.  Inspect your feet daily and try to avoid walking barefoot.  Make sure you take care of any foot conditions prior to your holiday.

9.      If staying in a hotel/motel, reserve a room with a kitchenette so that you can prepare meals in your room. Bring a cooler if a kitchenette is not available, so that you can keep essentials in your room. Ask if a continental breakfast is included at the hotel/motel. Are there restaurants or grocery stores nearby?

10.  Stay hydrated and incorporate some activity during your trip, for example, daily stretches. Don’t forget to get out of your car and walk around every few hours.  Being on holidays and sight seeing is a good way to get your activity in and increase your steps!

For more information on travel tips for people with diabetes, please visit:Canadian Diabetes Association - travel

For information on eating away from home, please read:
Canadian Diabetes Association - Eating Away From Home

For more information on diabetes, please visit these websites:
Canadian Diabetes Association


Monday, 9 July 2012

Get outside and get moving!

Summer is here, the weather is beautiful. Slather on the sunscreen, pop on a hat, grab a bottle of water and get outside!
Corinne Cutler, Exercise Specialist at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network has provided a list of 25 ways you can increase your outdoor activity. Challenge your family and friends to see how many of these outdoor activities you can complete this summer:
  1. Turn off the television and go for a family walk around the neighbourhood.
  2. Take the dog for a walk each day.
  3. Take a Frisbee and head out to the park for a picnic.
  4. Dig into gardening! Plant a garden and get everyone to help out with their own special section.
  5. Rake up the leaves and take turns jumping into the pile. 
  6. See if the local museum or historical society has a brochure of historical walks in your neighbourhood or town. Go out and explore together.
  7. Take the time to explore a local attraction on a road trip. 
  8. Run through the sprinkler on a warm day.
  9. Take a Frisbee, soccer ball, or baseball along on the road trip.
  10. On a windy day, go to an open field and fly a kite. 
  11. Make your weekly family social activity, active! Go to the park instead of the cinema. 
  12. Plan "walk and talk" outings with your friends and their children. This is a great substitute for going for coffee.
  13. Plan an active family vacation. Try hiking, camping, or swimming.
  14. Get a bicycle carrier (and helmets for everyone) so the whole family can go for a ride together. 
  15. Play catch at a local park.
  16. Learn how to hacky sack.
  17. Get some chalk and play hopscotch. 
  18. Plan a family hike through a scenic park. 
  19. Challenge your children to a basketball, volleyball, tennis, or baseball game. They'll love the idea of playing and competing against you. 
  20. Explore different leash-free parks, even if you don't have a dog.
  21. Go to the neighbourhood playground and help your children to climb and swing. 
  22. Go bird watching. See how many birds you can spot.
  23. Take a moonlight or flashlight walk in the evening. Go stargazing.
  24. When your children are learning to ride a bicycle, put on your running shoes and run along side or hop on your own bike. Support them and teach them proper bicycle safety while running with them around the block. 
  25. Allow your children to include friends when planning some physical activities. This will encourage their peers to be active as well.
Reference :  Healthy Alberta

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ask the Exercise Specialist

Our healthcare team members are asked a multitude of health-related questions on a daily basis. We have compiled some of the most asked questions and answer them here for the public. This post focuses on activity related questions, as answered by the LBD PCN Exercise Specialist, Corinne Cutler.

1. How much should I exercise to see health benefits?

You should do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity (30 min 5 days per week) as well as two days of strength training activity. If 30 minutes is too much, you can do this in 10 minute intervals, three time a day, as well.

2. What type of exercise can I do around the home or neighborhood?

The most accessible and least expensive form of exercise is walking.  At home you can walk on the spot, climb stairs, do crunches, push ups and planks. Watch and participate with activity DVD’s and you can do strength exercises with a Theraband. Many people also have a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike.

3. I hate exercise.  How should I start or how can I motivate myself to start?

Try a lot of different activities, try a class or a few classes, many recreation centres offer drop in classes so that you can try them out. Walk or swim with a friend, even an increase of daily chores like housework, gardening or yard work can get you  motivated.

4. If I exercise every day, can I eat whatever I want?

No. It takes a lot of energy to burn calories, a lot more than most people think. There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat. Think about how long it would take to burn those 3500 calories for a one pound weight deficit.

5. Is it better to work-out every day for 1/2 hour or 3 times a week for an hour?

Three times a week for an hour would be 180 minutes per week so this would provide more health benefits.  It also depends on what activity you are doing and how hard you are working for that hour as compared to 30 minutes. 

6. How many steps do I need to walk per day to maintain my weight?

There are no set number of steps for weight maintenance or weight loss as everyone is  individual and there are so many factors that apply, for example, walking pace, person’s weight, metabolic rate, how hard a person is working and getting their heart rate up, the amount of effort it is taking to walk etc. 

It is best to log your daily steps for at least a month and figure out your average daily steps (baseline) then look at increasing this number by 5-10 % every 1-2 weeks. After doing this for 4-6 months think about increasing the pace.  Also, weight maintenance and weight loss are affected by food and what changes are being made with healthy eating. 

Corinne Cutler is an Exercise Specialist at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network and has been working with the Chronic Disease Management program at the PCN for nearly 3 years. 
Corinne specializes in activity counselling, diabetes education, motivational interviewing and leading group activity sessions.
Corinne has a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta and has worked in the field of rehabilitation for 9 years. She is a Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP) and is a member of the Alberta Kinesiology Association (AKA).
Corinne is passionate about fitness and activity. She is a Certified Pilates Instructor (Peak Pilates), teaches Pilates classes in Edmonton and is currently training towards her black belt with Edmonton Mixed Martial Arts.


Alberta Centre for Active Living
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Public Health Agency of Canada