We all remember the string of diabetes commercials from the early 2000s. You know the ones I’m referring to. They stared Wilford Brimley, known for The Thing (1982) and Cocoon (1985), and a horse fully decked-out in cowboy gear.
Well, in these commercials, the first thing he talks about is monitoring his diet and exercise to help manage his condition. Something many of the more than 100 million Americans living with diabetes do as well.
This means many of your members could also have diabetes. So we’ve put together seven easy ways your club can help the nearly one in four adults who suffer from this condition, as well as the estimated 7.2 million adults who don’t know they have the condition.
7 Ways Your Club Can Help Your Members With Diabetes
1. Provide a wide range of classes
Some people with diabetes will face physical limitations due to symptoms of the disease, while many others will not. Someone with neuropathy symptoms may do better in an aquatics class, whereas someone with no limitations may enjoy challenging themselves in a high-intensity interval class.
2. Offer diet classes or information
Diet plays a significant role in diabetes management. Your club can bring in a dietitian to give talks on eating for diabetes. If your gym employs a dietitian, private counseling is a great option, and most insurance plans cover diabetes education.
3. Offer low-carb options in your cafe
Many people with diabetes will be watching their carbohydrate intake. While juice and smoothies are trendy fares right now, they’re also high in sugar. Try offering low-carb options like almonds, salads, or jerky.
4. Address health and lifestyle
Aside from diet and exercise, diabetes can introduce a wide range of lifestyle changes. Try bringing in an expert like a doctor or nurse practitioner to give a talk about diabetes management issues like blood glucose monitoring.
5. Offer a structured program
Some people with diabetes may be new to exercise. A structured program with regular, weekly meetings, a dedicated group, and instruction on the equipment and training can help them get to know your club, build community, and increase the likelihood they stick around longer.
6. Focus on mental health, too
A diagnosis of diabetes—or any chronic disease—can be a life-changing event. Often chronic diseases are linked to depression symptoms and lower quality of life. Try offering mind-body focused classes like restorative yoga.
7. Support members in practical application
Education goes a long way, but getting members actually to use that advice requires support. In addition to nutrition education, offer an interactive cooking or food preparation seminar. In addition to personal or group training, offer a workshop on planning and goal setting that enables members to create and succeed with their exercise plan.