Everybody is scared at the start when it comes to embarking on a new journey! The Personal Health Diabetes programme is no different. We thought we were gentle, approachable, understanding and compassionate people!! But what we didn’t consider was that people with Type 2 Diabetes are petrified about making small changes in their lifestyle. Most participants have waited for years before contemplating and finally making some small changes. But they are all delighted once they start and most comment that they wish it happened sooner.
Guilt and Stigma
When we have got to know our participants after a few weeks, often people have mentioned carrying a guilt and stigma with them for developing a condition like Type 2 Diabetes. The condition is lifestyle related, so they feel they have let themselves down in some way. The reality here is that feelings of guilt and stigma are futile. What is important is to take action now and make small but attainable changes to your lifestyle. Former Chair of International Diabetes Federation, Dr Tony O’Sullivan has visited us here to assess the Personal Health Diabetes programme and was impressed, commenting ‘This programme is suitable for anyone living with diabetes and will really contribute to better control of the condition’.
Sociable and Friendly
Our participants are a lovely sociable gang.
They meet regularly on Tuesday afternoons in clinic and despite the chats and giggles, they get their work done. The fitness levels, size and shape differs from person to person but all are accommodated. The one non negotiable is that they do some good honest work, ending up a little sweaty and breathless (don’t worry nobody crawls out the door!).
What does Type 2 Diabetes programme involve?
The programme involves turning up on Tuesday afternoons at 5pm. Once an initial screening is complete the client is cleared for progress and the fun begins. The exercise classes (4 per month) last approximately 40 minutes in total. Caoimhe also runs a monthly workshop discussing practical and non sacrificial changes to enable healthy eating.
What are the benefits?
Some people choose to test their progress every few months and this has given participants great feedback. Some see changes in blood sugar levels. Others experience weight loss. Most improve on strength scores and stability. Others feel steadier on their feet and more confident. Most describe greater energy levels. Crucially, as healthcare professionals we see a group reducing the risks associated with the condition. It is a hugely rewarding experience for all concerned.
What do I wear, what do I do, what happens in general??
People tend to arrive a few minutes beforehand in comfortable, exercise clothing. For those arriving from work , there are clean and spacious changing rooms with showers and storage. During each class there is a warm up , some strength training, balance and co-ordination tasks, some short sharp bursts of activity (High Intensity Intervals), some stretching and functional movements, and plenty of advice about pacing yourself. Turn up people! You’ll be glad you did!