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Diabetes Update 134: Leisure and Health

September 1, 2009

By David Mendosa

Shooting Star

Big Elk

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, August 2009

I was traveling almost all month -- two weeks by my SUV and two weeks by foot (and then on a separate trip I flew to Alaska). I hiked 132 miles of the High Sierra in California. You can read my six photo essays about this trek on my "Fitness and Photography for Fun" blog starting at "High Sierra Trek: Entering the Wilderness."

We were three members of the Sierra Club from around the country, including a woman from Vermont, a man from California, and myself from Colorado. A Sierra Club leader, an assistant leader, and a wrangler on horseback with five mules for our gear accompanied us.

I celebrated my 74th birthday on the trail. While I was the oldest and the only member of the party to have diabetes, all of the other hikers also have health problems and physical limitations. Each of us qualified as senior citizens. One of us was a woman, supposedly the weaker sex, but in fact often the fastest hiker. I think that we proved that almost anyone at any age can get the exercise we all need and enjoy.

This month I practiced what I preached in my article "Leisure and Health." I went on my first long vacation in 30 years. Consequently, in August I wrote only four more articles for the Health Central Network.

Nevertheless, I wrote these four articles during the month of August:

  • My New Diabetes Articles for Health Central:
    • David's New Diabetes Diet. A couple of years ago I wrote about what I eat. But it keeps changing, and this is what's on my plate now.

    • Leisure and Health. We work too much. Our long work week and the epidemics of diabetes and obesity may be connected. A study of 1,400 American adults that will be coming out in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine shows that the more time we spend in different leisure activities the lower our blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index, and cortisol measurements. These are all markers of good health.

    • Exercise May Reduce Belly Fat. When we have a lot of belly fat, we are at greater risk of heart disease because of the inflammatory molecules that this fat produces. But a new study suggests that even moderate amounts of exercise can reduce the inflammation. 

    • Vitamin D for the Heart. Those of us who have diabetes and don't get enough vitamin D can't process cholesterol normally. It builds up in our blood vessels, increasing our risk of heart attack and stroke. Now, however, new research has identified how low vitamin D levels link to heart disease risk and a good way to fix the problem. The solution is simply to increase our levels of vitamin D.
  • Dr. Bernstein's Webcast

    If you have any interest in controlling your diabetes by low-carb eating, one of the best resources is Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's monthly webcast. It's an hour of excellent diabetes education.

    Dr. Bernstein's next live Tele-Seminar is Tuesday, September 29, at 8:00 PM EST, 7:00 PM CST, 6:00 PM MST, and 5:00 PM PST. He designed it to answer your most important questions concerning diabetes. The seminar is free. You can click here to register: It's also available as a live webcast both on the Internet and by phone.  

    New Book on Diabetes Relationships

    Cherie Burbach just published a most useful book to help people understand the personal side of diabetes. Her book is a short piece that should help a lot of people with diabetes and their families understand each other a little better.

    Her book, 21 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Someone with Diabetes, is equal parts guide and etiquette book. It speaks about 21 different things you can do that don't cost a lot of money or time, but will improve the relationship you have with your pal or family member.

    For more information about this useful book you can visit her website,


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