Diabetes Forecast

Can You Dig It?

By Sara Sklaroff, Editor at Large ,

Spring came early for us this year, meaning that I saw our first crocus on February 1 and by St. Patrick’s Day my hay fever was in full bloom. No matter. Neither fears about global climate change nor concern for inflamed sinuses could dampen my resolve to get digging in the garden—a resolve that stems, in part, from a desire to take good care of my diabetes.

As much as I despise certain parts of my workout routine (squats! lunges!), I am fine doing the very same movements if it means getting our overgrown ivy under control. It’s the distraction factor: Give me a basketball and put me on a court, and I will run myself ragged. But “cardio”? Ugh. Don’t even mention the word. Similarly, I will spend a full afternoon weeding (and thus squatting and lunging) without giving much thought to the energy being expended—until I collapse on the living room couch, exhausted but content.

I made these terrariums to bring the outdoors in! They include creatures from my kid’s toy box and are very low maintenance—perfect reminders of the joy to be had outside.

In fact, as I head out the door to do a big weekend gardening project, my husband will gently remind me, “Don’t overdo it!” He’s seen the aftermath of aching muscles—and, sometimes, plummeting glucose levels. Since it’s “just” gardening, I can easily forget that the workout can be pretty darn intense, but I make  it my business to check my glucose before I begin and keep an eye on it throughout. Usually, I like what I see: the significantly lower numbers that can come from muscles working hard.

Gardening has other benefits apart from its impact on health, of course. Working on that ivy plague in front of the house means interacting with passersby and being part of the surrounding community. Watching bulbs poke up from the earth and the trees bud and the lavender show its flowers connects me to the rhythm of the seasons. And spending time outdoors also means a much-needed mental respite from squinting at my computer screen all day. My work is improved by the break.

Now, if only there was room for a basketball court in the backyard . . .



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