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.


Steps to raise awareness

Our daughter’s diagnosis has been life-changing for us and we’re trying to do anything we can to raise awareness and money to support research in the hope that one day there may be a cure. At Christmas, we bought Diabetes UK cards from the shop. And we've also bought wristbands.

I’ve done a lot of reading on the Diabetes UK website about different areas. If I have any kind of questions, there’s a pretty good level of answers through the information. 

It’s probably a bit of an excuse but since Sophie was diagnosed seven months ago, I haven’t been to the gym. It’s been so challenging in the evenings and we’re not always getting enough sleep in the night.

Time has flown by and it’s impacted us in many different ways. And we need to work out how we turn things into a normal routine and a healthier lifestyle. 

So I’ve signed up for the Birmingham Wellness Walk in July, and I’ve also signed up for the 100 push-ups a day event in June. I’m not sure I can do more than 10 at the moment! But I’ve got a month to practise.

We want to raise money, but I also need to get out and do a bit more exercise and get in shape. You’ll see six of us doing the walk – my wife Paloma, my mum, dad, brother and sister-in-law.  We’re going to try and bring Sophie along. She’ll be in the pushchair but she’ll probably want to do a bit of the walk, we’ll see how it goes! 

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Yvonne was diagnosed in April 2022

Walk of a lifetime

I have always dreamed of walking between Land's End and John O'Groats when I retired. And I have decided to take a career break from my job as a project manager for four months in 2023 to realise this ambition. Problem solving is part of my DNA, so I’ve had to treat the walk like a little project: break it down into little bits.Take each day at a time, plan for contingency.

I wanted to prove to myself that I could still achieve great things despite having this condition and while I'm still fit and able to do it. Diabetes UK is one of the three charities that I have

Back up

My husband will provide me with the technical support – and fresh supplies of washing, food and some special healthy flapjack that friends are making for me. He’ll be there at the end of the day on the good days and the bad.

Sometimes I’m camping, sometimes I’m staying in bed and breakfasts or hotels. All my accommodation is booked. 

I’ve got to make sure I don’t get blisters and infections. I do a lot of walking and have very comfortable boots, so I could physically walk further each day but I don’t want to put myself under that pressure. I want to enjoy the experience and not feel like I’m having to rush — that’s when you start to injure yourself. 

Remission hopes

I’ve accepted that my diabetes is going to be there for life. It will be sitting there in the background and part of the acceptance is learning to live with it. I’d love remission to happen. My GP said it’s unlikely because I don’t have the weight to lose. I can still hope it might happen. I tend to be somebody that’s realistic about stuff. If I made putting myself into remission my end goal and that doesn’t happen, I would feel that I’ve failed and nobody wants to feel like that.

Although  this has been a tricky journey to navigate and I can still be tripped up by an unexpected high blood sugar reading, I can see myself on the positive side now.

Yvonne's JustGiving page.

Find out the latest research on remission for people with lower body weights (BMIs)

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Looking ahead


I’m now walking towards a happier, healthier future by taking on the Glasgow Wellness Walk.

Since my son Alexander James (AJ for short) was born 14 weeks ago, I always take him out in the pram and let him sleep. During pregnancy I met a group of friends who were also pregnant. And we were always going walking together, especially on maternity leave. 

I live in Glasgow and walking is one of the cheapest activities. And the weather’s picking up now. Walking's not just good for your diabetes but your overall wellbeing. And you can always just put on a pair of headphones. My husband is going on the walk with me and we might bring little AJ in the pram. 

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Waseem ZaffarDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged 24


The last six years have been very different. I am taking my medication. I take metformin and more recently I have a weekly injection of Trulicity (dulaglutide). All my diabetes numbers are going in the right direction and my kidneys are no longer at threat level.

I’ve been living a more active lifestyle than at any time in my adult life. I fall asleep disappointed if I don’t get my 10,000 steps in. 

I’ve been walking consistently now for the past 18 months. It's helped me with weight loss and my mental wellbeing. And even if I’m really busy, I find ways to get some steps in, such as walking phone conversations.

I’m a Brummie through and through. I love walking the canals and exploring the city. Most people don’t realise we have more miles of canal than there are in Venice!  

For the last few years I’ve reduced my intake of carbs. It’s really difficult if you’re from a South Asian background as the diet is very heavy on carbs. My GP is very supportive, and I have friends who are good motivators – including some who have diabetes. One of those is Tom Watson, who had a very public campaign to reverse his diabetes. 

Last week, I weighed myself. I’m still overweight but I cannot recall previously being 79kg (12 stone 6) as an adult. At one point, I started to wonder if my dream to be Aston Villa’s number 9 could be back on!

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Shannon by canal

Shannon BallDiagnosed aged 16

Month of Miles challenge

Keen to increase her activity levels to help manage her diabetes, Shannon decided to sign up to our Month of Miles challenge, which runs all year and invites participants to choose a distance that suits them and raise sponsorship.

"I used an app to count the distance I covered, and it was great to see the numbers add up, every mile was a little goal. Even if I only made it to my local park, getting out the door in the first place sometimes felt like an achievement in itself. In the past, I'd come up with excuse after excuse about why I shouldn't bother going out for a walk, I'd tell myself I had to cook dinner, or the weather was too bad. There were times when even getting my shoes on was a struggle but recently, there's been a change in my outlook. I've realised it makes me happy when I go out.

Seeing other people share their successes on the Month of Miles Face book page was really powerful, seeing their progress made me feel like I could achieve something too. It was nice to be part of a group where everyone understands what it's like to live with diabetes. One day I was out walking, and someone asked about my t-shirt, so I explained what I was doing. I'm not a social person, but my confidence has really improved thanks to these walks. That's been a huge boost."

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