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Diabetes Discussions: Exercise and Sport

In this episode, Jack Woodfield from Diabetes UK is joined by Nikita Kuzmin and Milesh Lakhani to discuss the role that sport and exercise play in their lives and the benefits and challenges it can bring.  

It’s universally agreed that being active is good for us, but living with diabetes can make it hard to know what sort of exercise to do or how it might affect you.

Nikita is a professional dancer with six Italian Championship titles who joined the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing in 2021. He was diagnosed with type 1 when he was 13.  

Milesh is a property developer who lives in Hampshire with his wife and two children. He was diagnosed with type 3c in 2021. 

Nikita shares what motivates him to take part in as many physical activities as he can and reveals some of the planning required for him to take part in the Strictly Come Dancing TV show and live tour. 

Milesh explains how he changed his exercise routine after developing pancreatitis and being diagnosed with diabetes, and how not being active affects him. 

Diabetes Discussions: Exercise and sport transcript

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Episode 2 transcript

Jack [00:00:10]: Welcome to Diabetes Discussions, the brand new podcast from Diabetes UK.  

[00:00:15]: Each episode we'll be talking to you about the realities of diabetes. Sometimes known as the hidden condition. Millions of us live with it. Millions more misunderstand it. We know diabetes can affect everyone differently. It can play a small part in your life or completely consume it. 

[00:00:32]: We'll be sharing personal experiences from those impacted every single day, but who don't let it hold them back.  

[00:00:39]: I’m Jack Woodfield from Diabetes UK and I'll be guiding us through the conversation and sharing my own stories of living with diabetes.  

[00:00:47]: Today we'll be talking about exercise and sport.  

Nikita [00:00:52]: Yes, it does keep me fit. Yes, it does maybe keep you in a good shape, which you like to see in the mirror, which is also at the same time motivation, right? But it's mostly is just the healthy mind.  

Milesh [00:01:04]: Be realistic about how to start. And I used myself as an example, I was like, right, I'm gonna start going down the gym. I'm gonna start going down the gym five out of seven days. It's just not realistic. 

Jack [00:01:20]: It’s universally agreed that being active is good for us, whether you are into walking, football, yoga, or even wrestling. But we know that living with diabetes can make it hard to know what sort of exercise to do or how it might affect us.  

[00:01:34]: Joining me to talk about this topic are Nikita Kuzmin and Milesh Lakhani. Nikita is a professional dancer who has appeared on the BBC show strictly come dancing over the past two series. He was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was 13.

[00:01:47]: And Milesh is a property developer who lives in Hampshire with his wife and two children. He was diagnosed with type 3c diabetes in 2021. Nikita, Milesh, hello. Welcome to you both.  

Milesh [00:01:57]: Hello.  

Nikita [00:01:58]: Hi, Jack. How are you? 

Jack [00:02:00]: Very good, thank you. Um, Milesh, I'd like to start with you if that's okay, because I'm sure a lot of people's ears would’ve pricked up when they heard the term type 3c diabetes as it's not a condition that gets talked about very often. Can you tell us a bit about this type of diabetes as well as your diagnosis and how it impacts your day-to-day life? 

Milesh [00:02:18]: So type 3c diabetes, my understanding is that it is linked to issues with your pancreas, basically. I suffered a spell of pancreatitis back in 2013, and my pancreas is now only, partially functioning around about 20%. And even then, when it wants to. So managing blood sugars is a bit of a challenge.  

[00:02:39]: My diagnosis, as you said, was in 2021. Up until then, I was misdiagnosed as type two. And actually, whilst I was putting all the steps in place in terms of exercise and diet and that type of thing, it- I didn't- weren’t seeing any improvement. And so having the diagnosis made so much more sense, it was a huge relief because, you know, it all just made sense and I understood it a lot better. And you know, as I said, that type is related to. You know, the pancreas not being fully functioning if you like.  

Jack [00:03:07]: That's really interesting to hear and I'm really sorry to hear about the pancreatitis and the misdiagnosis as well. That must have been a really challenging period and I'm really interested to hear how you approached exercise before your diagnosis compared to now, because you are really active yourself. 

[00:03:20]: You've taken part in the Diabetes UK One Million Steps Challenge, and you've also completed the London to Brighton cycle ride fundraising for Diabetes UK. So how did your diagnosis change how you approached exercise and were you active before your diagnosis?

Milesh [00:03:34]: I was active with my diagnosis once I got the type two. Prior to that, if I'm completely honest, uh, I wasn't as active at all. Um, way back before my pancreatitis, I was pretty much walking to the car and then walking from the car park to my office and then a little bit walking in between and- and not a lot else used to play badminton now and again. 

[00:03:55]: Now since I understood the benefits of it and actually practiced what people were preaching to me, the impact of having, you know, exercise built into your daily life daily schedule is really, really important. It just helps, for me, it helps with the management of obviously having diabetes. Um, you can get caught out sometimes, you know, certainly if I go out early in the morning for a walk or whatever, I've been caught out and had a couple of hypos and stuff. 

[00:04:20]: So you've gotta manage that in terms of, in lots of stuff with you. But yeah, I mean, it just takes a little bit of pressure off knowing that you've done that little bit of exercise and you just feel like you're managing it that little bit better.  

Jack [00:04:32]: Being confident in management is so important. So I imagine having that inspiration to change is so important as well. And so, Nikita, that brings me to you because you've been dancing since you were a child, and you've previously spoken about how your diagnosis made you worried that you wouldn't be able to have a career as a professional dancer. So what was it that inspired you to keep dancing and also what were some of the conversations that you were having with your doctors and your healthcare team at that time with regards to your, you know, your future dancing? 

Nikita [00:04:59]: Yeah, as you just said, the moment I discovered when I was 13, to have diabetes, um, the first thing to mind funnily in the mind of a 13-year-old probably wouldn't be, I can't dance anymore, right? But because by that time, my whole life, I've been living, uh, in, I think, three or four countries or because of dancing, um, moving to place to place. 

[00:05:19]: Basically, I'm just doing it 24/7. So, the moment I discovered, I was like, okay, so my career is over. I don't really care about diabetes. I was scared of the needles as well, actually at that time, but as probably many of us are. But, um, and then I remember that one of my, honestly, my most precious memories is waking up, seeing, uh, all the kids around me in this, uh, paediatric, uh, diabetes hospital.  

[00:05:43]: They were all happy, all joyous. They were all diabetics by now, by a few years. So I was like, okay. That was the first sign that life goes on and you can be happy with it and everything can be fine with it. And then the actual thing was just-, changed my whole mindset in a split second, was when I went out of my room and on the right side I had the wall of fame with all the famous and successful people who made it despite diabetes one, two, or three. 

[00:06:14]: Uh, presidents, Olympians, para-Olympians, uh, any kind of athletes or mathematician, scientists, anything that actually inspired me. And I- I obviously was searching for somebody who was doing any kind of sports, and I can tell you 100% cause I rechecked it, I think last year, who actually was on that wall and my childhood mind actually made multiple of them up. 

[00:06:37]: They were not up there [laughs]. Which, which is okay. Which is okay cause it did motivate a sort of way. But yeah, I think that was just a big, big moment for me. And, uh, sometimes to find in a smaller way, of course, to find myself in these situations today with a big platform which Strictly gives all of us and see a bunch of kids, even- even now that I'm touring at the moment, and lots of kids, uh, in the first row, um, they know how to show me just by showing me the sensor or, uh, backstage after when we go to the pictures, they just go, yes, I'm diabetic. 

[00:07:10]: And then we have a chat and it's just- honestly, those are the most precious memories for me because you know, usually when people do this straight away, I just go, you, like I point at you like in a nice way and they point at me and we are like- it's just such a beautiful connection. But yeah, it's just, honestly, it's giving some type of inspiration or motivation to young kids or even to- adults actually write me. 

[00;07:34] It doesn’t matter what you wanna do, if you wanna change countries, go live by yourself. If you wanna go for a hike for five years, it doesn’t matter as long as you just try and you, of course, always be careful but it’s-diabetes is all about managing and finding new solutions, and I think that’s the most important thing. 

Jack [00:07:50]: I love that you may have made up some people to inspire you, but even so, it still shows incredible strength of character to follow your dream and do what you want to do. And I'm really interested to learn a bit about the requirements of dancing cause I imagine it requires quite a lot of stamina, strength, and conditioning. 

[00:08:06]: So what does your training program look like? And also, does it leave any room for other sports? 

Nikita [00:08:12]: I'm a sport junkie, so I do everything 24/7. I play football. I play basketball recently a lot. I run, I just ran a marathon. I run a lot. I cycle. I wanna do- actually, I'm trying to prepare myself for an Ironman. 

Milesh [00:08:25]: Wow.  

Jack [00:08:26]: Oh wow.  

Nikita [00:08:48]: I wanna do an Ironman. But yeah, bunch of things. I do badminton as well. Anything that makes me fun. I do sports mostly for health of my mind and just to distract myself. I feel it as it- it calms me down.  

Jack [00:08:41]: As someone who's generally quite unfit, that sounds absolutely exhausting to me, but it's really interesting that you talked about how it made your mind feel a bit clearer. I think it's really important to talk about the benefits of exercise.  

[00:08:53]: So, when I was a little bit fitter, I ran a couple of half marathons and I found that throughout the training process, and the actual run itself, my blood sugar started to become more stable and my mood was really elevated compared to at the start. 

[00:09:06]: So I'd like to ask the two of you, what benefits have you found to being active, not just with your diabetes, but how you feel physically as well? Milesh? 

Milesh [00:09:14]: I think there's nothing better. So, as we all do, uh, certainly myself, I'll go through phases of motivation for exercise, but for me, certainly when the weather's good, like for this month, I set myself a challenge. I'm gonna get out every morning, 10,000 steps a day, and I get out in the morning.  

[00:09:30]: There's something about just being out before the world's woken up. You can hear the birds singing, sometimes I'm listening to music, but it just gives you that sense of calmness and also you’re ready for the day. And now it's got to a point, luckily, where if I don't do it of a morning, then I review the day at the end and go, actually, has this got something to do with it?  

[00:09:51]: And I'm more and more being convinced that it does. For me, it just clears my mind. If I want to hear, listen to motivational books or audio books, or listen to music, that's cool too but sometimes it's just nice to be out in nature.  

Nikita [00:10:04]: And Milesh wakes up when I go to sleep.  

Milesh [00:10:06]: [laughs] 

Jack [00:10:07]: I was gonna say, I completely agreed with that Milesh, but under the caveat of, unless you have two children who wake you up at five o'clock each morning and you haven't heard the birds in several years, which is the case for me.  

[00:10:18]: But Nikita, what about you? What are some of the benefits that you found to exercise on your diabetes and just how you feel?  

Nikita [00:10:24]: You know, you say about the babies, I have two cats. I'm not comparing cause it's not even close but my cats love to wake me up in the middle-  

Jack [00:10:30]: I- I know what cat owners say and yeah, I- I don't think there's too much difference. 

Nikita [00:10:33]: If they decide it is time to play around and jump on bed- jump from any kind of structure on you in the middle of the night, then it's time for that. 

[00:10:42]: Yeah, but back to the topic. Um, I think for me, I mean obviously I've done sports every single day since I'm a kid, so it's like, it's just a requirement for me and personally I do sports, especially because of my mind.  

[00:10:55]: As soon as I stop, I get incredibly sad. Like I get sad. I get kind of like, I wouldn't say-, cause depression is a very big word, but I start to go towards that direction. I start to feel unmotivated. I start to feel, um, many ways which are really unhealthy for you.  

[00:11:16]: Especially if you live alone like I do, and far away from your family and stuff like that. So for me, sports, yes, it does keep me fit. Yes, it does maybe keep you in a good shape what you like to see in the mirror, which is also at the same time motivation, right?  

[00:11:30]: But it's mostly is just the healthy mind. If I don't exercise daily anything, I just start to spiral away. Maybe cause how I've been abroad from my- from my childhood that I need to do it now every single day but yeah.  

Jack [00:11:46]: You've been doing it for years as well, so-  

Nikita [00:11:47]: Yeah, 21 years now so- 

Jack [00:11:49]: It's 21. Wow.  

Nikita [00:11:50]: Yeah.  

Milesh [00:11:50]: I was gonna say with your type one diagnosis and the fact that, you know, there was that moment where you felt like, do you know what my career's over at age 13, do you feel that that inspires you to go and do more sports than you might have done normally without your diabetes? 

Nikita [00:12:06]: You know what inspires me to do more crazy stuff is…actually that moment when I joined Strictly and a bunch of kids gave me the Salute- it was a sensor. And it's just for me, just- I don't know if it's just that, but it's just showing that we can do anything. It might sound very cliche, but I love to do things which people say like, you can't, right? 

[00:12:27]: And then bunch of kids, they go, oh my God- and but, and maybe cause I'm getting as well, the feedback from parents that they're saying like, they saw you doing this and now they think they can do this. And once you start to get that feedback, it's just, I feel like it's just putting fuel on fire, right.  

Jack [00:12:44]: That's not cliche, by the way. That's so cool. And it's amazing that all those kids did that. That must be a real driver as well, where you have that connection. 

Nikita [00:12:52]: Oh, it is, absolutely.  

Jack [00:12:52]: Yeah. 

Nikita [00:12:53]: It's one of those things, it's like taking care of your family or inspiring a young generation. It's just some things which you always thought you are doing it for a reason and you might have been doing it maybe just cause you want a career, maybe you're doing it for money, it doesn't matter for what, but then you experience that kind of emotion and you just realize it's- it's just so much bigger than you. Right?  

Nikita [00:13:16]: Like when you take care of your family for the first time and you are like, wow, this feels great. This just feels- it's not even great, it's just your heart is full, right? And when you can inspire anyone, and it doesn't matter which age, anyone, you can help somebody, it's just, it fills your heart in such a beautiful way, which you just wanna keep doing it. So, yeah. 

Milesh [00:13:36]: Yeah, it's a sense of, for me, it feels like a sense of duty service, if you like.  

Nikita [00:13:42]: Yeah.  

Milesh [00:13:42]: And I feel like I have a responsibility to try and do that as much as possible and show people what's possible. And, and obviously you are doing it on a huge scale, which must be phenomenal.  

Jack [00:13:52]: Guys, you’re making me feel terrible. The biggest exercise I do at the moment is walking the dog. So I need to have a serious talk to myself once this episode ends and get myself back on track a little bit.  

[00:14:01]: Um, Nikita, you've already touched on the touring with Strictly and I imagine it must be a really intense schedule for you, but I'm interested to know what the considerations are that you have to think about for each episode and also how each recording day goes for you? 

Nikita [00:14:16]: So, number one, as we all know, the worst enemy of diabetes is not having a routine. What tour does is gives you zero routine. So, it's really about adjusting a lot. It's about just trying to fix at the spot right now, at the moment.  

[00:14:33]: So every day, new food, which you don't choose most of the time, new circumstances, how your sugar's gonna react to performing today. And so for me it's mostly about adapting. Now you said recording day, which is a bit different cause right now on tour we are performing live when we are not recording, but, on the recording days…Recording days are just different.  

[00:14:53]: It's like when I used to, up till three years ago, when I used to have competition days. I'm really nervous, so once I'm nervous, my sugars are sky high and it might be an awful feeling, but that's all right.  

[00:15:05]: But on recording days, it's just survival. So yeah. The first actual incident that this happened, with my sugars going so high because of nerves, was at my first World Championships back in 17? 16? And I'm now worked up- so it’s- it's just maybe the thought that these are the World Championships and you know, I've been preparing for it for long, long, long time and I was just in shock cause I'd never experienced my insulin not working on my body for how much, like, maybe 10, 12 hours at the first time.  

[00:15:36]: And I was just keep pushing insulin, insulin, and insulin. And we doing further rounds and we did, by the time, four rounds. Now it's the quarterfinals. And before the quarterfinals was the big break, was three hours break in which I completely calm myself down. So I got ready mentally for the quarter finals and that's when as well my sugars started to drop because of the amount of insulin, which has been collected by that time. 

[00:16:04]: And it was just-, if you see it on the sensor graphic, it's just like a- like a dip down and no matter what you do, it's a dip down. I remember the quarterfinals are starting. I see that it's just- it's flying. I took a couple of cans of Coke, sugar bags and I was drinking Red Bull at the same time. 

[00:16:26]:  I'm just chewing everything down [laughs], going on the floor, performing my first dance. Going out, chewing everything down.  

Jack [00:16:34]: It's a double-edged sword, I imagine for you, because you do so much activity for your job, and then when you have the adrenaline and stress and that takes your blood sugar up, you just don't need it. 

[00:16:44]: So, you know, I'm full of admiration for you for managing that, because that must be really stressful. Cause I- I'm sure we all know what it feels like when your blood sugar's high, you don't always feel great as well and it can really impact your mood and if you're then trying to exercise as well. I mean, yeah, that's just incredible. 

Nikita [00:16:59]: I'll be honest with you, I really don't stress about it at all. Personally, I really take it just the way it is. I always been saying I just have diabetes. It doesn't really change anything for me. Um, I just manage it from day to day. 

[00:17:11]: I've been always, whatever sugars are just fixing it and I just don't see problems in things. It's just the way it is and we are absolutely fine. We can just keep on living and yes, sure I might have a condition which we need to take care of, but we are absolutely normal and yeah. 

Jack [00:17:29]: It’s a brilliant attitude to have. Um, and one thing you mentioned earlier about the importance of routines, um, and I had to ask you about that because you mentioned that when you go out for a walk, sometimes you can get caught. What's some of your routines and do you have like a number of different routines depending on what exercise you might be doing? 

Milesh [00:17:44]: No, not really. So, I go out for a walk. I think the main routine for me, or main thing for me is to make sure that I'm prepared. So I've got something in case I go low. Highs, you can manage, yeah, you feel a bit moody or you feel a bit whatever, but you can still function. Whereas if you start to go low, then you know, you get the sweats or you know, you start shaking whatever it is. 

[00:18:04]: So it's just about trying to manage that as best as you can. And one thing I try not to do when I'm walking is continually check and I'll try and take it off my mind rather than keep it on my mind because it defeats the purpose of going out and try to clear your mind, if that makes sense. So, yeah, so it's more about just making sure I'm prepared when I'm going out and about and doing stuff.  

Jack [00:18:23]: Yeah, absolutely. And it's funny you mentioned that actually, cause one of the things that I regret when I did my first half marathon was I did that, I checked kind of every half an hour and spent that half an hour worrying that I was going low too quickly or I was going high too quickly. And it's a regret that I didn't talk to my GP more about it in advance at the time to kind of get some advice and just on the best way to manage it on the day. 

[00:18:47]: Cause I'd done a lot of training and I thought I had an idea, but on the day it's always a bit different. So I'd like to ask you both what has been, and Nikita, you've already touched on your relationship with your healthcare team when you were younger, but what's your current relationships like with your- your GPs and your healthcare teams when it comes to, if you need some more advice on exercise, and do you feel that you can easily get this if you need to? Milesh, if you wanna go first. 

Milesh [00:19:08]: GP less so. I'm not sure I should say this, but when I had my, uh, recent check-up, the diabetic nurse didn't know what 3c was, so I felt like I educated her before I left. However, the hospital team are phenomenal. As soon as I got the diagnosis, they've been there all along the way. I've got a dietician who is amazing. 

[00:19:28]: My diabetic nurse is amazing. If I've got any problems, I've got her email address so I can just drop her an email to say, look, feeling pretty rubbish at the moment. What can I be doing? Likewise, if I've had really good periods, then I'll say, dunno, what's going on but it's amazing at the moment and thank you because yeah, I think if there was a risk of them not being available, I think I'd really struggle just with that kind of letting go really. So, so yeah, a bit of a mixture in terms of, uh, support. But yeah, the hospital team are amazing.  

Jack [00:19:59]: That's really good that you've got someone that you can rely on for that. Nikita, is that the same for you?  

Nikita [00:20:03]: I would say my communication with my team is much less active than Milesh’s one. Um, just because I'm in England and they’re in Italy and it's always been that way. Yeah. And same, same as Milesh, my GP, it's not really there in terms of diabetes for me, just cause I don't remember last time I spoke with my GP.  

[00:20:23]: Uh, but with the diabetes team, again, they're absolutely fabulous. But at the same time, I think I manage it mostly by myself. And then every period when I managed to come back to Italy, we obviously do all the check-ups and things, and that's when we discuss issues, problems, everything that could be corrected. So, it's mostly just finding the right time between mine and their schedules and find the solutions there.  

Jack [00:20:50]: I suppose for you, the travel must play a real role in that as well, not just from what you do dancing professionally, but also just being in different time zones, you know, being in different countries and knowing where you can get hypo treatments if you need to or speak to somebody about this. How challenging has that been? 

Nikita [00:21:08]: For me, it's just been always like that. The only thing that traveling does to you is just makes you tired. And I think a bit like Milesh said, I do always have all my gels with me or have, uh, free sugar packs always in the left pocket.  

Jack [00:21:22]: Is that the same for Strictly as well? 

Nikita [00:21:24]: Oh, Strictly, they have very nice thing as well. The first thing they did is, number one, ask me every single detail about what they have to do. If I start to feel bad, how can they see it from the outside? If it goes badly, what can they do? And all of this type of stuff. What is that? What is that? Just 1 million questions, which was so nice to answer because nobody never, ever cared so much for that, and nobody cared so much for me in terms of that. 

[00:21:50]: Uh, usually they just go, don't die, you know, and just [laughs], I'm- I'm joking. Um, so yeah, and Strictly just with- asked all about it. And then the first day of rehearsals, they had a special Nikita station, which then became Nikita Box, which bunch of sweets and things and fruits and fizzy drinks with a bunch of sugar in it, which to be honest, I rarely use, but it's just lovely that it's there, still there now. 

[00:22:16]: Right now it's a box hidden because, uh, everybody keeps stealing chocolate from it [laughs].  

Jack [22:21]: Name and shame, Nikita.  

Nikita [00:22:23]: On every tour we have one person who steals chocolate from it, and I know all of them and I confront them by the end of the tour. But it's, uh, it's all jokes, you know, they all really take really much care of me, so that's really lovely. 

Jack [00:22:35]: That's fantastic. It must be a real comfort having such a caring crew as well. So, you've both already made me much more inspired to do exercise and one of the things that I'm fighting just as I get older, it's just, it's a lack of time and I blame that a lot on not exercising as much as I should. 

[00:26:12]: But for other people living with diabetes, there were likely several other reasons that might make them reluctant to exercise, whether it's perhaps they got mobility issues or they struggle to fit exercise into their routines, or they worry about how it might affect their diabetes and their health.  

[00:26:27]: So, the final question that I'd like to put to you both is, and you've both been really inspirational with your answers so far, and I imagine you'll touch on what you said already, but what's the one piece of advice that you share with anyone looking to start doing more exercise, more activity, no matter how small it is? Milesh, if you wanna go first.  

Milesh [00:23:25]: What I would say is be realistic about how to start. And I use myself as an example, I was like, right, I'm gonna start going down the gym. I'm gonna start going down the gym five out of seven days. It's just not realistic when you haven't done anything, like you're not being fair to yourself by setting those types of targets. So I would say just be realistic. 

[00:23:45]: Just do one thing every single day consistently, and then, after a period of time, do two things every single day, whether that's going for a walk or jogging on the spot for five minutes or whatever it is, or even just doing like exercises with some dumbbells or whatever whilst you’re sat down. Whatever it is, just do one thing at a time, gradually, consistently, and then move it up the scale. 

[00:24:06]: So your goal might be, I want to go down the gym five times a week out of seven. That's cool. But be realistic about it and say it's gonna take me three months, six months to get there. Because by having a goal of five times a week on day one, it doesn't feel realistic. So, then you're less motivated and then you find excuses like, I haven't got enough time to do it, and bits and bobs. 

[00:24:45]: So I think just start slowly and give yourself a break. The fact that you are choosing to do some exercise more than you are today is progress. So don't knock yourself before you've even started. I read a audio book once about the compound effect, and it can be related to money, it can be related to diet, it can be related to exercise. And, using the diet thing as an example, if the three of us went out for lunch every single day, I had a salad, you guys had a burger and chips, we ain't gonna feel the impact on day one.  

[00:24:52]: So if we do that for a month, then you know, in theory I'm gonna be that little bit more healthier than you guys. And so similar thing with exercise, just keep doing one thing consistently and then start to gradually improve after it. And that really stuck with me and that's what I keep saying to myself. A slight edge. Just do one gradual thing each day and you see the compound effect over time.  

Jack [00:25:11]: Brilliant advice.  

Nikita [00:25:13]: Absolutely agree. It's not about how much you do, it's about just doing it a little bit. And it's-, as well, if you take the mental aspect of it. If you have that motivation, you wake up with that motivation to do something and you go and you just burn that whole motivation just in one week, as you say, yeah, now- now is the time, you'll be done probably by a week.  

[00:25:34]: But if you keep it, it's a little bit more difficult cause then now you feel a bit restrained in the beginning you might just be doing five minutes and- or just a two minutes, maybe you do a couple of push-ups or, if you have mobility issues, maybe couple of leg raises, or maybe just arms up, around just moving. You might have done it for two minutes. Great. You have done your exercise for the day. 

[00:25:58]: You don't have to do more. Then the next day, if you feel good, maybe do again two minutes. Then the next day, do two minutes, don't increase it. Then maybe the week later do two and a half. And keep building up slowly. If you think about it, if you would go to a hip-hop class, which we all would be really uncomfortable with, I wouldn't go and I would go to a level three hip-hop class where people are doing tricks on their hats, right?  

[00:26:22]: But then I would just leave the class after one minute, I would maybe go to a beginner's class when we do step, step clap, right? And slowly, slowly, it'll build from that. So, it's the same with exercise.  

Jack [00:26:34]: I wasn't expecting that comparison, but it's kind of brilliant and it's also making me want to step one hip-hop immediately, although in Coventry, I dunno if there's any courses for that, but, um,  

Nikita [00:26:44]: Keep dancing, you know, it's always keep dancing. 

Jack [00:26:46]: Keep dancing. Nikita, Milesh, it's been absolutely fantastic talking to you both today. Thank you for joining us on the podcast and for sharing your stories about exercise and sport.  

Nikita [00:26:56]: Thank you, Jack. Thank you, Milesh.  

Milesh [00:26:58]: Thank you. 

Jack [00:27:03]: That's all for this episode of Diabetes Discussions. We hope the conversation has helped you with your own experiences of living with or supporting someone with diabetes.  

[00:27:13]: For more advice and support, search Diabetes UK online or check out the information and links in the episode notes. Don't forget to hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. 

[00:27:23]: And if you'd like what you've heard, please rate and review to help others discover the podcast. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

More information about this episode

When taking part in any new physical activity, there is the possibility of physical injury. It’s important that you always check with your healthcare team before trying new exercises. If you experience any pain or difficulty when doing these exercises, stop and speak to your GP or healthcare team. 

The views and opinions of the guests are their personal stories and may not reflect the views or advice of Diabetes UK. The content in the podcast is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It's important you always speak with your healthcare team for specific medical advice. 

If you are affected by the topics discussed then you can call our helpline team on 0345 123 2399, or email us at

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"Start slowly and give yourself a break. The fact that you are choosing to do some exercise more than you are today is progress. So don't knock yourself before you've even started."
- Milesh, who features in our episode on exercise and sport

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