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Sean’s story: Walking regularly is helping me lower my blood sugar levels



"When I first started walking, I couldn’t do more than a couple of miles without flaking out. Now I can do a five mile walk at a decent pace and not get exhausted."

Sean is building up to our Liverpool Wellness walk to improve his health and raise funds for diabetes research.


My motivation to walk

I’ve been walking more since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2020. It definitely lowers my blood sugar levels.

When my HbA1c went over 100mmol/mol (11.3%) about 12 months ago, I started in earnest to try and do something about it. I started walking regularly and it came down to the mid-60s. I normally do two to three miles a session. And I walk most days – or at least five times a week. I just walk round the streets – I have a few routes. I work nine to five so I do it in the evenings after dinner. I walk on my own – and I’ll listen to podcasts.

I’m a member of Diabetes UK and I saw something on Instagram about the Liverpool Wellness Walk and I thought ‘I could do that’. And I signed up. My wife’s from Liverpool and we’re in Kirkby.

The walk is eight miles, so I’m building up to it and increasing the amount of time and distance. I’ve done a couple of five mile walk circuits and I’m going to do a couple of six milers this week and then a seven-mile walk. 

When I first started walking, I couldn’t do more than a couple of miles without flaking out. Now I can do a five mile walk at a decent pace and not get exhausted. 

My HbA1c was high again when it was checked in January. I fell off a bit because I went on holiday in October and then there was the run up to Christmas, but I’m getting back into a routine and doing an hour’s walking again most days. 

It’s the first time I’ve ever done any fundraising. Our work’s got a social media platform and I’ve got a lot of support from there. My dad has type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed at 15 and he’s now 70, and has just been fitted with an insulin pump. So I’ve seen first-hand the developments in treatment over the last 30-odd years. And they’re only possible because of charitable donations.

"If you’re new to walking, I’d say: pace yourself, work up to a comfortable distance. And don’t set your expectations too high too soon. Just gradually increase how far you’re walking". 

Food and healthy eating

What I find difficult about diabetes

The biggest challenge for me with diabetes is resisting snacking. I’ll be good all day but then I sit in front of the telly, and it’s hard, but I try to stop myself.

I’m on the Metformin – the maximum amount. And I might have to go on insulin. But I’d love to get off the medication and get my blood sugar levels out of the diabetic range. I know I need to lose weight. And I’ve been on a reduced calorie diet and I'm also trying to reduce carbs.

I don’t know anyone with type 2 diabetes. So I do tend to crack on on my own although I might look at joining one of the Diabetes UK local support groups to connect with others with the condition.


"It never crossed my mind I had diabetes"

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago at the age of 42. I was admitted to hospital with an infection in my knee. They did a blood test and said: ‘you’re diabetic’. It was quite a shock. There were signs, looking back, I was drinking a lot of water and was tired a lot. I just didn’t join the dots. It never crossed my mind. 

As my dad has type 1 diabetes I knew quite a lot about diabetes. I also knew how insulin works in the body and also some of the difficulties of living with the condition. (I’ve got A levels in Chemistry and Biology and a Chemistry degree). 

Initially I didn’t get much healthcare support. They said they’d make an appointment with a dietitian and that never happened. They did offer a three-month gym membership but that’s not my thing so I turned it down. I get my annual checks with the GP and three monthly HbA1c checks.

When I was diagnosed, I became a member of Diabetes UK. The magazine (Balance) is good and I like the stories and the recipes. I also went online and a did a ridiculous amount of research about the condition. 

After I’ve done the Liverpool Wellness walk, I’m going to try and find a local half marathon to walk.  

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