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For most athletes, training and competing are activities most often done without a second thought. But for those who suffer from diabetes, concern about their well-being is very real when undertaking physical activities.

In her new book, "The Diabetic Athlete," Sheri R. Colberg, points out that exercise is, in fact, critical to people with diabetes. A helpful guide for active people who want to safely enjoy exercise, it offers advice on blood sugar regulation, medication and nutrition for diabetics in 86 sports and activities. An assistant professor of exercise science, Colberg said the book is aimed at those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The idea for the book came when Colberg attended her first meeting of the International Diabetic Athletes Association (IDAA) in 1990 and realized how much she could learn from the experiences of others. But it wasn't until she came to Old Dominion in 1997 and applied for a summer research grant that she really began to put her ideas for the book together.

In the summer of 1998, Colberg sent out 1,700 questionnaires to members of the IDAA asking them to describe their usual diets, medication and exercise routines. She compiled the answers from the 250 surveyes she got back, adding information based on her own research about exercise physiology and workouts.

"My own experiences were the driving force behind acquiring the knowledge for the book," said Colberg. "My own knowledge also helped me in interpreting the experiences of others."

Al Lewis, IDAA board chairman, said, "'The Diabetic Athlete' underscores the fact that exercise is critical to the person with diabetes. The book is designed for the active person with diabetes and the health care provider."

Recently, the American College of Sports Medicine announced its main recommendation for people with type 2 diabetes is to exercise more, noted Colberg, who said the onset of diabetes can be delayed by regular activity.

According to Colberg, the book can benefit people with any type of diabetes, regardless of whether they consider themselves athletes or not. "The Diabetic Athlete," published by Human Kinetics, is being sold nationally and is being marketed to diabetics, as well as diabetic educators and coaches of diabetic athletes, Colberg said.

A diabetic herself, Colberg enjoys swimming, biking, walking, weight training and yard work.

This article was posted on: October 17, 2000

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