Simple ways to challenge deadly diabetes

Kathiravelu Ganeshan

A significant percentage of people who migrated to New Zealand from the Indian sub-continent suffer from Type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

Many also have problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure, anxiety and, some, even depression.

I have written this piece hoping that my experience will help someone improve their health.

I used to be active and played some sports, including Soccer, ‘Killithattu, also known as ‘Thaachi,’ swimming and of course Cricket during my school days. During my working life, in three different countries, I played tennis and Badminton.

End of Exercise

In 2005, I developed serious pain in both knees and my right elbow. This pain caused me to stop all forms of exercise.

Three years later (2008), my doctor prescribed some pills. She also gave me a Green Prescription and encouraged me to go back to doing more exercise and take advantage of the Green Prescription special rates at leisure centres.

I joined the Glenfield Pools and Leisure Centre as a member. On my first day, I puffed and panted after swimming just 12 meters from the deep end to the middle of the pool where I can still touch the ground.

At this point, I was scared to go further to the deep end, although I had previously swum in the sea in much deeper waters.

Stamina with Swimming

Swimming daily, within three months, I built up enough stamina to swim, backstroke, 2800 meters, that is 112 lengths non-stop in 1 hour 50 minutes. Since then, I have taken up several other exciting sporting activities.

But then that is another story.

I hope to motivate people who are diabetic, pre-diabetic, have cholesterol issues and similar challenges, to consider pushing themselves to do more exercise.

However, I am not a doctor and it is important that everyone checks with their doctor the types and levels of exercise that they should do before they start on any programme of exercise.

Three types of GP

I had a great GP (General Practitioner) was also a GP (Great Person), who not only wrote out a regular prescription, but also a GP (Green Prescription), and took the time to encourage me to go back to regular exercise.

Not all GPs and practice nurses have adequate time to talk about the benefits of Green Prescription during the 10 or 15-minute consultations. They also often give up, as many patients do not follow their advice, preferring to pop pills instead.

People wanting to improve their health and quality of life through an active life style no longer need a GP referral for Green Prescription.

They can call 0800 ACTIVE (0800-228483). The great people at Green Prescription will organise the required medical clearance, enrol them and follow up.

Back in 2008, I found the follow up and advice from Green Prescription very motivating and useful. They even suggested other exciting and beneficial activities such as Tai Chi.

My advice is that if you are a pre-diabetic you should call 0800 ACTIVE as soon as you can and avoid becoming a diabetic.

Eating matters

What you eat is also important in managing diabetes and cholesterol.

Therefore, it is even more important to not graduate from pre-diabetes to diabetes and thus being able to enjoy our delicious Indian food.

My advice for people who are already diabetic, have blood pressure, anxiety or depression or even cancer is to watch

Kathiravelu Ganeshan is a self-motivated, self-disciplined man, resident in New Zealand for the past 21 years. Now 68, he leads an active life, encouraging people to follow some simple measures to remain healthy. We hope to carry more articles from him in future issues.

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