1 Million steps and more
On the 1st July I joined the Diabetes UK #1MillionSteps campaign; the aim was to take over one million steps between the 1st July and the 30th September 2016 and help raise some money for Diabetes UK. As part of my personal challenge, I also wanted to hit a target of 15,000 steps every day in addition to the overall target of 1 million steps.
As I discussed in my last blog, whilst I am reasonably good at hitting my long-term goal of averaging 15,000 steps a day each week, there are big variations in the number of steps I take from day to day. I’m pleased to say that after 3 months I have not only exceeded my target of 1 million steps, have also hit my target of 15,000 steps every day and helped raise some money for Diabetes UK. With just a few hours of the challenge remaining, my total steps stand at 1,902,766.
Over the last three months I averaged a little over 20,000 steps a day, with my lowest day being 15,069; I was travelling on a day flight back to the UK, so most of my steps were compressed into striding purposefully around the airport waiting room.
My highest was over 44,500; one of the last days of my marathon training (for an event I wasn’t able to run). For the first time I managed to run the 10 miles to the office, as well as running home afterwards. It was a tough challenge, but an enjoyable one that I hoped to repeat. Unfortunately I came down with shingles soon after, and I spend most of the summer away from my running much loved running shoes, making the walking challenge a more important part of my diabetes regime.
Like many people with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) I monitor my Blood Glucose (BG) levels every day, and whilst the challenge as not been a scientific experiment from a health point of view, it does look like the increased level of walking (especially on days when I am not doing any other exercise) is having a beneficial impact on my BG levels. At my annual diabetes review with my GP this week, I was delighted to be able to have my GP confirm this; despite some ill health over the summer (which makes it tougher to manage BG levels) and the lack of running, the results of a laboratory blood test giving a picture of my average BG levels (HbA1c) showed a significant improvement. On this basis my GP and I have agreed a six month trial without my main diabetes medication Metformin. This is was a very pleasant surprise, as the side effects of Metformin are unpleasant, and whilst I have become used to them in the last three years, it will be fantastic to be rid of them. If you have a strong stomach, you can read more about Metformin and it's side effects in my blog "In gut we trust; the importance of microbiota (#DPC16)"
London PWD Walkers
Following a long walk with friends in July, we established The London People With Diabetes Walking Group in Facebook.
The group is for people living with Diabetes (of all types) and those close to them who like to walk; to share tips and advice, let others know about their favourite routes in and around London and to find new walking partners.
The group does not plan or organise any events, but people are free to use the group to let others know about their plans and encourage them to join in.
There have been a number of occasions when, as a result of an unexpectedly busy day or bad planning, I have found myself pulling my shoes on late into the evening and heading out for a walk when I would rather have been on the sofa. The upside is that I have enjoyed some lovely summer evenings when it would have been easier to be slumped in front of the TV.
Twitter is a great source of peer support for those with Diabetes and other long-term conditions, and another benefit of the challenge has been to be in contact with others undertaking the challenge using the hashtag #1MillionSteps. There has been a constant stream of enthusiasm and support throughout, and this has done a great deal to keep me going when it would otherwise been too easy to take a few days off. It has been great to see the progress of others and to see some spectacular photos from around country (and the world).
So as the challenge draws to a close I would like top thank all of the lovely people I have met on Twitter this summer, the amazing team at Diabetes UK who not only set me the challenge but encouraged me at every step. Most of all I would like to thank those who made donations using my fundrasing page; the work of Diabetes makes a huge difference to the everyday lives of a great number of people.
My personal target of walking 15,000 steps every day will stay, and you can follow my progress on Twitter where I tweet as @Fractis. If you would like to join me in supporting the amazing work of Diabetes UK, please visit my fundraising page and make a small (or large) donation. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Fractis