Geez, the title of this blog post sounds like the start of a ridiculously cheesy joke, doesn’t it? But it’s true—my mom, my aunt, and I go to a Zumba class every Wednesday night to get some exercise in the middle of our busy workweeks. And it just so happens that we each have type one diabetes.
If you don’t know what Zumba is, then I’d highly recommend trying out a class at some point to find out for yourself. Words can’t exactly do it justice, but I’ll take a stab at it. Basically, one Zumba class is an hour-long session that blends Latin dance moves with strength and conditioning exercises. The instructor plays high energy music and shows you the choreography for each song.
It’s a lot of fun, even if you do have two left feet—which I certainly do. Sometimes, I have to fake my way through a song if I can’t quite comprehend the steps involved, which makes me feel a little goofy. At the same time, though, it’s good for a laugh as well as dynamic exercise.
Speaking of exercise, have you heard about the Big Blue Test? It’s an initiative launched by the Diabetes Hands Foundation that encourages those with diabetes to exercise 14-20 minutes daily. The idea is that you test your blood sugar before and after the physical activity and see how it affects your blood sugar. According to their website (bigbluetest.org), those who partake in the Big Blue Test notice an average blood sugar drop of 20%.
After you’ve completed your blood sugar tests and exercise, visit either the website or the mobile app to share your results. By doing this, the Diabetes Hands Foundation grants $1 for every Big Blue Test logged. This money helps support people in need who are affected by diabetes around the world.
This year, the Diabetes Hands Foundation hopes to reach 110,000 Big Blue Test entries by the end of November. Seeing as November is also Diabetes Awareness Month, it’s a great time to blend advocacy with fitness by taking as many Big Blue Tests as possible. It doesn’t hurt that my weekly Zumba classes extend through the month, so you can bet that I’ll be logging my blood sugars after each one.
So even though my mom, my aunt, and I aren’t the most coordinated people, we are definitely motivated to stay in shape and keep our blood sugars in check with this exercise. Whether you work out on your own or with others (T1D or nonT1D!), be sure to think about the benefits it can have individually AND collectively by making it a Big Blue Test!