by Carole Carson, AARP, October 16, 2008
Barbara Messer, 49, of Nevada City, Calif., has found a sport she loves. She's a self-described "cycling enthusiast."
In 1972, Barbara was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her treatment requires her to take insulin, to constantly monitor what she eats, and to test her blood-sugar levels five to seven times a day. "It's still hard," Barbara says, "to control my body chemistry."
Although Barbara was moderately active in her youth, she added pounds during her college years and didn't drop to a normal weight until her mid-20s when she began exercising regularly. Her boss talked her into going to a gym three days a week with a short 20- to 30-minute workout. Now she does 60-minute workouts four times a week, plus one or two bike rides.
After Barbara completed a six-day cycling tour in Arizona on a whim, she realized she was hooked. She had considered cycling a noncompetitive sport, which was a plus since she didn't think she was all that great at team sports.
"Now I know," Barbara says, "that anything can be competitive. But my main competitor is myself. I take pride in improving my strength and abilities. I love feeling my own strength when I'm riding. It's a great feeling to get to the top of yet another hill, huffing and puffing, and then go zipping down, as if I have not a care in the world."
Barbara has definitely found her motivation, but she adds that her reasons to exercise have varied. Sometimes the reasons, such as her diabetes, were serious. Other times, it was just for the fun of it. "What's important," she says, "is to persevere."
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Members save on in-home caregiving services.
Members get 10% off monthly fees, plus free installation and package savings on a safety monitoring system.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at