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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Activity

Hear from people with diabetes who have discovered the importance of keeping active. It doesn’t matter whether it’s something small or new, or just that little bit more of something you already do — all physical activity is good for diabetes.

Mike smiling into the camera on holiday

MikeDiagnosed with type 1 in 1976

Activity

5 weeks into the Get Moving courses

I’ve never been a fitness fanatic, but the courses really fired my imagination - especially the session about boxercise. I sat through it and thought ‘hang on, I can do that!’ and from that point I took getting active more seriously. I’ve started doing boxercise during the week for around half an hour every 2 or 3 days, and I’ve realised that this is my opportunity now to try and get fitter, to bring physical activity back into my life. Perhaps it might even help me to lose a little bit of weight, you never know! Plus it helps me mentally, feeling like I’ve got something to aim for and improve on. 

When you get to the end of a session, or your own workout, it makes you feel a lot better and like you’ve achieved something in your day. And if you plan it into the mornings or the evenings, you can find the time to get it done. We’re five sessions into the course now and I feel reinvigorated to do more each time; I’ve realised there’s nothing stopping me - I can do it.  

Interested in signing up to future Get Moving courses? Email helpline@diabetes.org.uk or call 0345 123 2399 to find out more.

At the end of the course

Looking back on the rest of the sessions, they were all really positive. I felt like I was able to put what I’ve been learning into practice as we got towards the end of the course.

Although the earlier boxercise session was hard to beat for me, hearing from the Wasps Rugby guests and doing exercises with them was really good. They had us using tea towels and all sorts to get moving. It showed us that you don’t need fancy equipment, just your imagination!  

Getting the chance to learn or take part in a different activity every week has also been so useful, because I’ve had the chance to try something new each time. And being part of a group, realising you’re not the only one who was struggling, it really helps. You’re all working together to achieve a goal, to get moving.

I’m doing things that I wouldn't have been able to do 10 weeks ago. In fact, since starting the course, and making more of an effort to get active, my wife has noticed that if I skip what I’ve planned to do, or can’t do it for some reason, my mood is different. So I think that shows what an impact it’s had, because it’s an important part of my life and routine now. 

Struggling to move more?

Call our helpline for one-to-one support. Our trained specialists will help you build your confidence and find new ways to get moving. Get in touch by calling 0345 123 2399 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, or emailing helpline@diabetes.org.uk.

Read Mike's complete story
Edward smiling into the camera

EdwardDiagnosed with type 2 in 2019

Getting inspired to move more

Then earlier this year in January, I got an email from my community health service about the 10-week Get Moving course and thought it was the perfect time to sign up. 

Lockdown had made my wife and I make more of an effort to incorporate physical activity into our routine, and we started (like everyone else!) to get out on longer walks throughout the week. But by the time the new year came around, I was interested in trying something new. Plus the idea of exercising with a group, where you’re told what to do and can follow the instructor, really appealed to me.

I’ve tried following exercise routines in emails and on flyers, but it’s so much easier when you can ask questions and actually see what you’re supposed to be doing. And it’s also nice to get to know your group and chat to other people who are in similar situations to you. 

Interested in signing up to future Get Moving courses? Email helpline@diabetes.org.uk or call 0345 123 2399 to find out more.

Looking back, there wasn’t one class that stood out to me - I found it all interesting and really well put together! You’re exercising different parts of your body each week, and it was great to have the Q&A sessions at the end of the activity sessions too. You’re always thinking about diabetes and all the things you should be doing, but it’s nice to have a reminder.

The whole course has left me feeling motivated to move, and it’s helped me realise that there’s so much out there that counts as physical activity, and that there’s so much that I can actually do! I know I want to keep this up, so I think I’m going to look at joining the private Facebook group and start to build my own routine using the resources there. I've realised that even doing a couple of stretches a day can help you to feel fitter and a bit more supple, and that's made a huge difference to how I go about my daily life.

Your free guide to moving more

If you're looking for a way to introduce more movement into your life, check out our new collection of free resources and get active in a way that suits you and your lifestyle. 

Find out more

Struggling to move more?

Call our helpline for one-to-one support. Our trained specialists will help you build your confidence and find new ways to get moving. Get in touch by calling 0345 123 2399 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, or emailing helpline@diabetes.org.uk.

Read Edward's complete story
Liz crouches on the floor holding some heavy looking weights

Liz CromwellDiagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2009

Finding the right type of physical activity

I’d been doing boot camp for a few months when a friend told me her husband was setting up a CrossFit gym. CrossFit is a form of high intensity interval training that combines strength and conditioning exercises.

I signed up to a 10-week plan along with nine others. I decided I wanted to be the person on that plan who lost the most weight. That gave me a focus.

But the 10-minute trial session felt like an hour! I asked myself whether I should keep going with CrossFit, because it was really hard.

But I found that it was something I enjoyed, despite the pain. I liked feeling the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It made me feel like I was doing something that was having a real effect. Plus, my children were training at the track anyway, so I felt like I might as well do something while they were there. Instead of eating junk food, my time was taken up with CrossFit.

I followed the meal plans and nutrition advice I was given by the CrossFit trainers. It was the first time I’d ever tried to understand food. I started using MyFitnessPal and weighing my food. That was all new to me.

At CrossFit, I discovered talents and abilities I never imagined I’d have. I think that’s where my healing process after the loss of my daughter really started. I felt good in myself. After a while, I realised I was progressing.

The first time I did a bench press, I lifted 60kg. People at my gym were saying, ‘you’re strong, you should enter a powerlifting competition’. I thought they were probably joking, but I didn’t care. I was proud of myself. I held onto that feeling and registered with the British Powerlifting Association.

Now, I’ve competed in – and won - national powerlifting competitions.

Read Liz Cromwell's complete story
Bupe laughing

BupeDiagnosed with type 2 during the Covid-19 pandemic

Benefits to my wellbeing 

I was fascinated by the data that Fitbit was collecting because I was understanding myself better. It wasn’t just tracking my steps but also my sleeping pattern. And based on that data I could adjust my behaviour, for example, if I wasn’t getting much deep sleep I’d go to bed a bit earlier. Watching the difference that these changes were making to my life was incredible because I could see the improvements on those figures as the days went by. I soon realised that walking gave me better sleep. Whenever I logged 10 km, I slept really well through the night and because I had a good night’s sleep, I was in a better mood and felt more productive during the day. 

Read Bupe's complete story
George West

George WestGeorge West was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago

Recent volunteering

In 2020, George was invited to speak at an online event with our Senior Physical Activity Advisor, Neil Gibson. Although it was challenging at first, George found returning to playing rugby and doing exercise helped his diabetes. 

He’s keen to break down barriers to exercise and to help people to feel confident to move more.  

“Not everyone has access to a gym, or they might not be able to afford the membership or live nearby. Or they might have a busy life and family and find it hard to find the time. Moving is so important though. It gives you happy hormones, it increases your insulin sensitivity so you can inject less.

"It also helps you to feel good about your body image. You can take small steps to move more, even just standing up from an armchair. It might not seem much, but it can make a difference.”   

In the past, George has helped at our type 1 children and family events, an experience he loved. In February 2021, he shared his experience and answered questions as part of a panel at an online event for those newly diagnosed.  

Earlier this year, George shared his journey with diabetes on our website. He spoke about life as a junior doctor and his experience of navigating the pandemic and getting the vaccine. 

Read George West's complete story
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