This World Diabetes Day, Diabetes UK supporter and health and fitness guru Derrick “Mr. Motivator” Evans offers fitness tips. He answers questions on why being active is good for your health if you are living with diabetes, or are at risk of developing the condition.
Mediaplanet: Why is it so important to you that people get active?
Mr Motivator: Historically, our ancestors enjoyed the benefit of an active lifestyle from the physical nature of hard work to the lack of immediate transport. We now have everything at our finger tips. No longer do we have to leave even our home. Humans need movement to stay alive, to keep all our muscles, ligaments and organs in good working order.
MP: How concerned are you about the rise in type 2 diabetes?
MM: In the UK around 4.5 million people are living with diabetes, and there could be as many as 11.9 million who are at risk. For one moment, consider the effects on those close to you, family and friends. Then, think of the impact on our health resources.
MP: How much of a concern for you is it that there is two to four times greater prevalence in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities for type 2?
MM: My concerns are across the board in that the problem of type 2 is close to all of us. Many of us will know someone who has type 2. Action needs to be taken now by all of us, we must take responsibility for our health and wellness and look towards the support available.
MP: What do you think we can do about educating people into better habits?
MM: Habits are formed from very early in life, therefore we need to educate the young, starting at Primary School level. We need to show them and to educate them. That will then have the effect of helping to arrest the problem before it develops.
MP: What kind of exercise would you recommend for the under 20s?
MM: Start with creating the awareness in the family, you need to get all members to buy into this healthy regime. Younger ones will always enjoy an active and fun lifestyle, but the focus needs to be on making play fun. That way they are more likely to continue for longer. Encouraging the playing of basketball, football, badminton, swimming and other activities is the way forward.
MP: What about for the over 60s?
MM: f you’re in this age group, participation on the social side of life — going out for walks joining walking clubs, dance clubs — is a great way to start. As you get older weight training should be part of your routine. This is important as the more you tax your muscles, the more benefit you will get from muscles that will continue to support you in later life. If you have never exercised before start small, maybe talking to a professional, and build up the momentum.
MP: And those in between?
MM: Everyone needs to focus on an active lifestyle, the more you are able to do when you are able, the more benefits will be stored in the fitness bank. I say a little every day is the best way. That means at any time you can have a day off and not feel guilty. If you only allocate activity three times a week, what happens when you have something to sort on one of those days?
MP: When you wake up feeling tired and fed up, what’s your trick for getting up and about and exercising?
MM: There are days when you just do not feel like doing anything, and there is nothing wrong with saying “not today!” There will be days when your internal systems are not 100 per cent and if you push yourself then you could get injured. Getting an injury must be avoided at all cost. That will only set you back. Think about that shower after you have had a great sweat, this is the best reward you can give yourself, so making the effort will be so rewarding in the end.
MP: How important is testing if you think you might have diabetes? (type 1 or type 2)
MM: The earlier you know about any medical condition the better it is, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Never take your health for granted, get regular check-ups, put your birthday as the time each year when you will get a medical. As well as that, pay attention to how you feel each day, keep a diary and when something does not feel right, heed those early signs and get a check-up. This applies to all conditions.
MP: What advice would you give to people struggling to keep an exercise regime going?
MM: Follow me on all social networks, get in touch, drop me an email, I make time to provide advice to anyone who has a problem with their lack of fitness. And to keep you motivated, get my autobiography “The Warm Up”, which is loaded with lots of information and advice about what I did when things were not working so well.