Part 8—Let’s Talk Exercise…

My Mother’s Journey of Healing From Diabetes

Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional or a personal coach. I am an untrained lay person who reads. What I write is how I understand what I’ve read and what I believe is the way it worked for my mother.

As a society we’ve heard the mantra—Gotta Exercise! So here is my attempt to explain why my mother’s walking—which started at 5 minutes per day and over two years grew to 45 minutes—helped her get off of her diabetes medications.

Before she came to live with me she’d lived a sedentary life for twenty years.  She had a lift chair to help her get up. She would read and sleep in this chair during the day.

When we were in Tennessee during the time my father was recovering in the hospital she needed assistance rising from a low chair. It truly embarrassed her, but she felt that was the way life was and there was no changing it.

After my father passed and she came to live with me we had a talk. I knew if she fell I would not be able to help her get up again. The thought of calling 911 just to pick her up from the floor scared me, assuming she hadn’t hurt herself.

She agreed to walk five minutes per day around the circle in my house. The circle went from the foyer, into the living room, into the kitchen, into the dining room and back into the foyer. She used her cane to help her stability.

I have a visual memory of those first weeks. When she’d hear the microwave buzzer sounding her five minutes of torture were up, she’d plop into the kitchen chair, huffing and puffing.

Maybe I get my stubbornness from her, but I admire how she kept at it. Finally, after two years, she was able to walk this area for forty-five minutes each day. I wish I had a YouTube video of when she would come into the dining room headed towards the foyer and grab the bannister railing—then swing herself around to increase her speed and continue towards the living room. It made me smile.

Also I remember taking her on a visit to my brother’s home and she bragged to him she could stand on one leg without assistance. Watching her do this made me proud of her.

It was during this time I discovered a research study where men in their eighties built muscle tissue when they worked out lifting weights. Well, I believe mom built leg muscles she had lost to her sedentary life style.

There were a few times we took a walk around the neighborhood in the spring with all the trees in bloom. Oh how beautiful it was! I delighted in sharing this with my mom.

This does sound rosy and wonderful, but truth be known, there is a reason I use the word Health Nazi.


  1. Joyce
    Apr 2, 2013

    yes, exercise is important , we go to the ymca almost everyday except Sunday

  2. Stephanie Karfelt
    Apr 2, 2013

    I feel lost without my exercise too! And mean! It helps with health, stress, well-being, and the trick for me was to start out slow, just like your Mom. I went from twenty minutes on the Stairmaster – at level one – which required a daily nap – to running. It took awhile, but I can honestly say I love my daily workout now.

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