LivingVertical founder Steve Richert climbing in Coopers Rock, VW. | With permission from Team LivingVertical |
Physical activity (in general) is one non-medical thing we can do to improve our health and combat diabetes. It is how we can take control and “reverse” the sickness by increasing health. I think simply the psychological element of that has been the most beneficial element. It also gives a positive incentive to all of the dietary micromanagement. My wife one day pointed out that my dietary regimen is akin to an olympic athlete and I realized that fine tuning our diet to yield higher performance is a gift that diabetes has given me. Fitness and physical activity is how we capitalize on that.
Climbing came along when I got burned out on fitness for fitness sake. Going to the gym and exercising to look better or feel better just stopped really motivating me after several years. I spent some time in the “hating exercise” boat. Turned out, I needed to have a reason to be exercising, a narrative that was more than just trying to outplay the diabetes. Getting outside and being free–getting exercise but not “exercising” led me to photography and filmmaking and it gave me a reason that, in plain speak, did not suck–to be pushing myself further–and finding ways to bring my diabetes with me.
Lows during exercise…I adjust my mealtimes such that my bolus is out of my system around the time that I start exercising. This makes highs gentle enough that they settle out of their own accord and lows “slow” enough that I am not scrambling to pack my face with sugar. I can usually get by eating what feels like normal snacks at regular intervals. Avoiding the rapid is the key.
This is Blake McCord, drilling on the lead on a recent new route expedition on the Acopan Tepui in Venezuela. What might not be obvious is that Blake has had #diabetes since he was ten. There’s a lot that’s not obvious about diabetes, like the fact that it can make you stronger and more motivated to #gobeyond. | Caption & photo with permission from Team LivingVertical |
Awesome day out #bouldering with @laudahl who grabbed this photo–we beat the rain by enough time to get in a good session and some laps on this particular problem that I finally sent the other day after years of backing off the spicy moves up high. My hand is feeling good and my #diabetes is doing nothing. Just hanging out with me while I #climb.
| Text & photo with permission from Team LivingVertical |
When we get diabetes, the add-on that we get which is never diagnosed is fear. Diabetes is simple enough to treat if you are disciplined and diligent. Certainly there are highs and lows, but not to the point of debilitation. Fear of those highs and lows are where we are held back. Overcome the fear and we overcome diabetes, for diabetes has no teeth for a disciplined, active person–aside from fear. There is no cure for diabetes, but there is a cure for fear.
Being empowered is about managing risk. Facing and defeating fear. Understanding that we have the ability to live life for the positives that motivate us and not be chasing our diabetes everywhere. Many people with diabetes spend their lives waging war on their diabetes like a parent might chase an unruly 2 year old on a bender–but diet and exercise if taken seriously can CHANGE that and put you back in control. It takes willingness to experiment gradually and always be learning.
Empowerment is rolling up your sleeves and finding a way.
I have tapped into social media because I realized that that is where I would find the people who needed to hear what I had to say. Ironically my message is all about getting out and not staying on social media. There is a sacrifice that happens for me to spend as much time creating content for others when I could be playing.
Bullying and depression are huge problems. None of which have solutions on computers. Both of which are improved by simply getting outside into nature and moving. I suppose it’s good for people to have an outlet to vent about their diabetes which social media does provide, but it also can lead to an unhealthy focus on diabetes instead of the things that make diabetes worth managing. Honestly I am insulated from a lot of these issues with kids. I have heard some about them, but I don’t “get out much” in the diabetes world, being consumed with my own projects–asI’m sure you can imagine!
These are the people with diabetes I have heard of and want to reach. If they know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, then that makes everything worthwhile. Much of what I do is trying to get the parents to back off and let their child be empowered, because the road to hell is paved with good intentions and well meaning parents coddle and baby their kids so much that they fear everything and stand out socially. If parents believe you’re sick and fragile and raise you that way…it’s likely that you will see yourself that way and be easily discouraged. Having just become a parent though, I have recently learned that taking advice on how to raise your child is something that is not easily taken in stride…
Thank you again Steve for your time and sharing your insights. We can all achieve whatever we desire. You have reminded me of that.
With permission from Team LivingVertical
Support LivingVertical’s crowd funding campaign here.
LivingVertical website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |