Walkers Jackie and Neil who benefit from this successful Walking for Health project have shared how they are managing their type 2 diabetes and weight with regular walking.
Jackie, aged 64, has attended the Pollok Park Health Walk for three and a half years. She wants other people to know how walking helped her health and wellbeing.
I started walking to help save my life as my health levels were moving downwards, and to get back to being me.
“I was a PE teacher in a local secondary school, but my health was not good, and I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic at 57. I loved my job and all the kids I taught, but I was slowing down a bit in classes and my pupils deserved the best of me, so I decided to take early retirement.
“I was overweight by at least two stones and knew I really had to do something active. I am not a gym person. I prefer classes with an instructor leading my fitness but, now on a pension, I needed a low-cost option. So, I joined the Pollok Park Health Walk which is free! At the time my doctor was considering putting me on injection style medication, so I knew I had to do something.
“I persuaded a friend to come along with me and, from day one, I knew it was the right fit for me. I started on the slow walk, as advised by the leaders, but later progressed onto the more challenging brisker walk, feeling so pleased when I managed it. It’s daunting to start something new but I can honestly say our walk will welcome you! The chatter never stops from start to finish. We finish at a community café – the perfect end to a great morning, and the social side is every bit as important as the physical benefits from the walk itself. It’s a real community, and I feel we all sort of group hug each other as the joys and sadness in life reach us all at times.
“My health improved, and I put it all down to the Health Walk as it was the only activity I regularly attended at that time. I was being more careful with what I was eating but I had been doing that for a year before I started walking. I started going on extra walks with anyone who would walk with me as I now enjoyed walking so much. I was still not at my ideal weight, and it did take another year, but overall, I lost over two stones.
“When I got my next blood sugar MOT in January, imagine my joy when my sugar levels were down to acceptable levels and, the biggest surprise for me was that my blood pressure was the lowest it had been in 3 years! I was elated! I was then asked to jump on the scales, and I cried when my weight was checked, and I had moved out of the medically obese range. This meant the world to me, a former Netball international player and PE teacher, at last I was no longer obese.”
Neil McCuaig, aged 46, has lost nearly three stone in a year and a half since joining the Botanic Gardens Health Walk.
In addition to his weekly Health Walk, Neil and staff from Community Integrated Care, who support him on his walks, reviewed his diet and looked at ways to reduce portion sizes to establish a healthy lifestyle.
Neil finds the Health Walks lift his mood and have also reduced his breathlessness. Now on a weekly basis, as well as attending the Health Walk, he can walk up to 20 miles, often walking from his home to the city centre and further afield to Clydebank.
Walk Leaders Anne and David think: “Neil is a great advert for walking and weight loss. He comes every week and has lost stones by walking and watching his diet. What a great guy!”
Paths for All are one of the 12 founding members of the Scottish Obesity Alliance to create a Scotland where healthy food and physical activity are easy, acceptable, affordable and sustainable for all. Read more here.