Moab Happenings Archive
Return to home


Diabetes and exercise… Why would I need physical therapy?

Being active is a very important part of staying healthy with Type II, adult onset diabetes. A physical therapist can help discuss how incorporating exercise into your daily routine can affect your blood sugar and potential problems that can arise when you start to become active. Current research has found that regular and adequate exercise has the ability to lower your blood sugar which is important in controlling your diabetes. Not only does activity help you manage your diabetes it can also decrease the amount of insulin you need. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. I know that sounds daunting for those of you that struggle to find enough energy to make your meals or walk outside to the mailbox. If you haven’t been active in awhile it is ok to take it slowly. You can break it up into smaller chunks of time beginning with 5 minutes of sustained walking and build up to 20 minutes of strolling down the sidewalk or bike path daily. A physical therapist can design a program suited for your ability and personal goals.

A long term fitness recommendation from the American Diabetes Association = 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Moderate exercise is defined as going for a brisk walk, swimming / aqua jogging, or riding a bike to list a few ideas. Physical therapists can help you get started by teaching you how to monitor your blood sugars during exercise and teach you about red flags (cautions) with exercise and diabetes. You will be educated on when it is safe to exercise, when you may need a snack before exercise, or when to take the day off based on blood sugar levels. Monitoring your blood sugar and daily exercise are only part of controlling your Type II diabetes.

If you have not already been warned about circulatory compromise and reduced sensation in your feet than read on… diabetics do not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas needed to allow glucose (sugar) to enter the cell and provide the energy necessary for daily activities. When the pancreas doesn't produce adequate amounts of insulin, or when the muscle, fat and liver cells don't respond to insulin properly, glucose builds up in the blood (hyperglycemia). This can be toxic to your cells. High blood sugar toxicity eventually causes decreased sensation to the bottom of your feet. Once you have decreased sensation you are susceptible to skin break down that can quickly become a non-healing wound. Most diabetics have compromised circulation along with decreased sensation. Both decreased circulation and sensation can turn a small cut/scrape on your foot into a foot ulcer or non-healing wound that needs medical intervention to prevent infection.

Help prevent skin break down with these quick tips:
a) Inspect the bottom of your feet regularly with a hand mirror
b) Check socks for holes before wearing them
c) Check inside your shoe for any debris/small pebbles before wearing.

Do your part to prevent foot ulcers and decrease your need for insulin. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Written by, Rhonda Cowern, Physical Therapist and owner of Moab Physical Therapy. She can be reached for more information: or


Making a Joyful Noise - Taiko Workshop March 28
by Alice de Anguera

Japanese Taiko drumming? Here in little ‘ole Moab? Yes, Moab Taiko Dan has been bouncing drumbeats off the red cliff walls since 1994 and they are still at it today! The art of taiko drumming may have come all the way from Japan, but it has never been more relevant or more fun. You can give it a try when Sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi of Sacramento Taiko Dan visits Moab to give a beginners’ workshop on Saturday, March 28th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Drumming in ancient Japan served the community. Drums echoed in celebration or as a call to action (quick, bring in the meats from the drying rack, the monsoon is coming!). Legend tells of powerful drums used to intimidate enemies in battle. Taiko drums were also used in Buddhist and Shinto religious ceremonies (and still are today) to guard against disease and crop failure. Taiko drumming as a performance art is a recent phenomenon, interweaving this rich history with modern stories and rhythms into fun and soulful ensemble pieces.

The desert drummers of Moab each gravitated toward taiko for different reasons. Kevin Fitzgerald, easily recognized as the tallest drummer and sometimes the only male, says, “It’s the Zen within the drums that keeps me and my life in rhythm.” Ann Austin, one of the newest members, likes the fact that drumming “requires coordination of almost all of your senses.” Nan Powell, a longtime member of Moab Taiko Dan (MTD), feels that, “we give to each other, then back to the community. Taiko creates community.” Like in ancient Japan, MTD drums for the community, to lift spirits, and to push themselves and others to persevere when the going gets tough. MTD drums for three Moab Half Marathons each year, plus a concert at the Moab Arts Festival in May, as well as other community events. A favorite song, “Kokorozashi,” brings the audience along on a journey of spirit. It was written by Tiffany Sensei to honor a Sacramento drummer who had continued to play taiko and live to the fullest during her fight against cancer. Moab Taiko Dan currently has one member in recovery from a stroke, and drummers send their love to her through the music. Whether it is illness, too much work, or not enough work, making more noise with more gusto than you ever thought possible is a great way to get through it. The road may be long, but with a little help from our friends, we can keep going and “sometimes there are strawberries,” as honorary MTD member Lou Liberty put it.

So why not? If you’ve ever faced hard stuff or wanted a reason to make resounding and delightful amounts of noise, come check it out. Tiffany Sensei will be here March 28th and the beginner class costs just $40. No experience or equipment necessary, and no commitment to continue. Call Alice at (206) 794-9416 or email her at for more information.


Return to Archive Index
return to home
Return to home