Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Beating diabetes on two wheels
Article Type: News From: Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Volume 12, Issue 3
When retirement came round for Eileen Lees, from Redruth in Cornwall, she decided it was time to make some serious changes but she had no idea that she would be taking up cycling at the age of 59 or that it would change her life. Eileen worked as a midwife doing shift work at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust and had developed Type 2 diabetes. When she retired in 2008 like many people she wanted to find a hobby and she came across a local walking and cycling project run by the UK charity Sustrans.
Eileen had not ridden a bike since childhood, even when raising her young children Eileen never thought to get back on her bike. After so many years, she found it relatively easy to remember how to cycle and was soon hooked. Now she cycles everywhere and her diabetes remains within the normal range through keeping active and eating healthily and she has decided to help others get more active too.
Now cycling regularly, Eileen is really feeling the benefits:
My fitness and stamina have definitely improved, she says. I have more energy and through losing a stone in weight, my shape has changed and I am more toned […] Since I’ve been cycling, it’s made me think more about my diet and made me want to take more control of what I eat. Now, my diabetes is not longer a problem which is fantastic and as long as I keep this up, hopefully I won’t be again.
Cycling has also helped Eileen form some good and supportive friendships:
Cycling is definitely keeping me busy in my retirement, she says. The rides are a good laugh and it’s a great way to make friends and have a chat as well as do some exercise. We all feel like we are achieving something together.
The Sustrans web site – www.sustrans.org.uk – has a free online map service to discover how to get around everyday on foot or by bike. Search for local or national routes, plot journeys, or find what the local area has to offer from schools, supermarkets and local landmarks to car clubs, bus stops and bike shops.