I am a 55 year old Type 2 Diabetic. I have been living with the condition for some 18 years (probably longer). I currently take 1x Metformin 500mg tablet with each meal (3x per day). I have always believed that exercise is the best way for me to control my diabetes rather than increasing doses of medication, and in general this works. However, due to injury, sometimes my activities (running and cycling) are curtailed. But I always thought brisk walks in their place would do the trick. Apparently not.
In 2018 I accepted a challenge to walk at least 12,000 steps every single day for the whole year. I made that challenge easily. But it is clear from my HbA1c results (below) that even walking 10-12 kilometers every day did little to control my diabetes. Revieweing my diabetic history in 10 stages highlights the differences types of exercise can make.
- Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2001, controlled by indoor football, badminton and hillwalking. No medication.
- Took up my first lecturing post in 2004. Chained to the desk writing lectures, designing courses and writing a book. HbA1c rose. Took up running in 2005 – ran first marathon 2006. HbA1c dropped rapidly
- Lost my Anterior Criciate Ligament (ACL) playing shinty in early 2007. Had to stop running. HbA1c rose dramatically. Metformin introduced into my regime.
- In 2008 I returned to running (slowly) on treadmill. Painful on the knee with no ACL.
- By 2009 I was back to distance running. Ran 2nd marathon in 2010 knocking 15 minutes off first time (03.43). HbA1c under control
- In 2011 I took up Ultramarathon running (completing 7x in 2012 alone). HbA1c dramatically declined. By 2015 I eased off the distances and HbA1c rose accordingly. NB – This was possibly the HIGHEST CARB DIET of my life (and best HbA1c results!)
- Seeing this, I reintroduced the longer distances and aimed for a trail marathon in October 2017. Cut down on carbs.
- Broke my foot and spent 6 months in a moonboot (well, about five different ones actually) walked at least 10km every single day of 2018 (3x months of which while wearing a moonboot!), but IT WAS NOT ENOUGH.
- 1 March 2019 – the date set for reintroducing running and cycle commuting a 36 Kilometer round trip to work. Also the date I got my HbA1c tested and was mortified at how the numbers had risen despite all the exercise. Given three months to get to 64 or else have additional medication added to my control regime. Made it.
- In August I was tested again to see if I’d crept back up. The running and cycling is paying off. The decline in HbA1c is marked. My Freestyle Libre estimates my next HbA1c will be 48.