Graham's walk to fitness

In March 2015 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which was no surprise given my weight, lifestyle and family history. I underwent a number of tests with the practice nurse and attended the 6-week Xpert course. Both of these suggested that I should get more exercise and that I should aim for 10,000 steps a day. They also both mentioned Walking for Health and the practice nurse at Manor Medical gave me the contact details for my local scheme in Stockport.

I thought I should give it a try. Conscious that I used to hike a lot but had lost the stamina, I was slightly daunted by the idea of joining a group of walkers but actually it was fine. I was surprised that the walk was less challenging than anticipated and very pleased with the way the group made us feel so welcome.

The group leader provided me with a pedometer which surprisingly was instrumental to the significant changes to my lifestyle. I had the visibility of steps walked and challenged myself to hit my target. Within a couple of weeks I proved to myself that I could achieve it, even if it was only a couple of times each week. 

"As time passed I increased my activity levels significantly. The confidence that I found from the walking group encouraged me to undertake lots of longer walks on my own and before long I was walking up to 10km 3 or 4 times a week"

Then I used the health passport to join a gym and from there further increased my activity levels. 

As a result of joining the walking group and the activities that this inspired I have lost 2.5 stone in weight, lost 6 inches off waist and chest, I am massively fitter, started jogging,  and gained confidence. My blood sugar is now below diabetes levels and I no longer take medication. 

I reflect on what the group has given me, and my wife who is disabled, and feel it is much more than was ever hoped by myself or the organisation. The weekly meeting helps not only physical health but also mental health, it has made me more positive and enabled me to be a better long term carer for my wife.

I'm convinced that I will live longer and that my wife's life has improved as my ability and attitude improved. I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone to join such a group.