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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Volunteer Spotlight - March 2021

"When it comes to building activity into your daily routine, take it step by step and be patient with yourself. It will be challenging at the beginning, but you’ll get better and more confident and then find you have more energy."

Meet our Volunteer Spotlight for March 2021, Emma Van Dun

Emma’s one of our guest instructors on our 10 week ‘Get Moving’ programme, supporting people with diabetes to start moving more. To celebrate March's National Workouts and Wellbeing Week, we did a Q&A with Emma to find out about her volunteer role.

Tell us a little bit about your background as a healthy lifestyle specialist

I studied for a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics back home in the Netherlands before moving to the UK about 5 years ago to do my MA in public health nutrition.

I recently set up my own business helping individuals with a one to one lifestyle service and groups in the community through running yoga, nutrition, and cookery workshops. I’m also a personal trainer, helping people in a holistic way targeting all aspects of life and both their physical and emotional wellbeing.

What inspired you to volunteer as physical coordinator on our ‘Get Moving’ courses?

The aims of the programme really inspired me and I was so keen to get involved and use my experience to help people living with diabetes. It was originally going to be face-to-face, but it’s been able to happen virtually during the pandemic. It’s been amazing to be a part of it.

What was your involvement?

In February 2021, I delivered several chair-based yoga classes on two of the ‘Get Moving’ courses. There were between 5-10 people at each class. During the sessions, we went through a mix of relaxation techniques and stretches, moving the body. Everyone can join in and it’s enjoyable and relaxing.

What’s it been like running online sessions?

I ran the sessions from my living room, and they worked very well. The only things I had to consider was making sure I was in shot, that everyone could hear me and that I wasn’t disturbed!

What are the benefits for yoga for our wellbeing?

Yoga benefits both the mind and the body. You work with your breath and listen to how your body is feeling in that practice. It can help relax you if you’re stressed and help your emotional wellbeing. It’s been proven to have benefits for people if they’re suffering from anxiety or depression.

Sometimes people think that yoga is very difficult and you have to stand on your head! But it’s something everyone can get involved with at any time.

Have you got any tips for getting started and building activity into a daily routine?

Take it step by step and be patient with yourself. It will be challenging at the beginning, but you’ll get better and more confident and then find you have more energy.

Any form of movement counts towards your level of activity. You’re more likely to stick to your goals if you take small achievable steps. Even doing just 10 minutes of activity in the morning can make a difference.

And finally, are you running any more sessions with the programme?

I’d like to! I’ve really enjoyed my experience of being a volunteer!


We’re running physical activity courses over 2021, funded by our partnership with Sport England. We want to support people living with diabetes to move more, to help improve confidence in being active with diabetes, and improve wellbeing and diabetes management. This is just one element of our Live Well Move More programme, which also includes our new Physical Activity Helpline and producing more information about physical activity and exercise for our webpages and social media.

We’re on the lookout for more guest instructors for our programme so if you’ve got a background in physical activity and would be interested in offering your time and skills for our ‘Get Moving’ courses, please email livewellmovemore@diabetes.org.uk.

 

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