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book reviews  

Diabetic Athlete's Handbook
by Sheri R. Colberg, PhD

©Outdoor Adventure Canada

Being athletic and diabetic isn't an easy balance to achieve sometimes and when one is first diagnosed it can be difficult, at best, to find the information an active diabetic needs to suit their passion for the outdoors.

My own experiences as a diabetic have been a challenge and when I was given the news three years ago, I was sure that I would have to hang up my backpack for good. I thought I'd be editing OAC from the sidelines, never again to participate in the activities I adored so much and I was devastated at the thought. I spoke with the educators and nutritionists at my local Diabetes Education Centre (DEC) about what I would need to do as far as insulin and food choices were concerned when doing these activities. Sadly, the staff at my particular DEC chose to really dumb things down and they could not provide the information I needed. I felt helpless.

I am not the type of person that accepts defeat, as those close to me know, I am stubborn and tenacious. I wasn't about to let being diabetic hold me back, so I worked hard and found a way to continue backpacking, day hiking, canoeing, and the like. I even took up running. I learned so much by trial and error which isn't the easiest way to go about it but without proper professional support, I had no other choice. All the while, there was a great tool out there, I just didn't know about it at the time. It is called the Diabetic Athlete's Handbook and it is indispensable for any active diabetic.

This book, written by Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, is a wonderful resource for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics involved in fitness, endurance, or recreational sports. The work covers a multitude of activities including running, swimming, fitness classes, ice climbing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountaineering, adventure racing and so many others that there isn't room to list them all.

One of the things I love most about the handbook is that it has comprehensive information on balancing blood sugars, how our bodies react under the strain of exercise, and how our energy system functions. Not only did I find this helpful in wrapping my head around adjustments I'd need to make for fitness, my partner who is not diabetic found it useful. It helped him to understand my needs on challenging wilderness trips. In turn, he was able to support me from a place of knowledge.

The book has some of the most inspiring athlete profiles I've read. These serve to illustrate that being a diabetic does not need to be a barrier that holds us back from the activities we enjoy. With the expertise this book has provided I've maintained my outdoorsy way of life, controlled my blood sugar, and I am running my first charity race in April in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Diabetic Athlete's Handbook is, by leaps and bounds, the best resource I have read and a must-have for anyone who is dealing with the rigors of balancing blood glucose levels and an active lifestyle.

The book is available directly from the publisher, Human Kinetics.

Written by Laurie March
Cover image courtesy Human Kinetics

masthead photo courtesy




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