Kicking diabetes' butt with healthy lifestyle program
WHEN Margaret Clark received a letter in the mail asking her to join the BEAT IT anti-diabetes program, the 76-year-old said her initial reaction was less than enthusiastic.
"I thought, 'I don't know about this but I'll give it a go'," says Margaret, who suffers from diabetes.
"My next thought was, 'I can't go by myself' so I rang my friend Maureen. We decided we'd try it for a day and see how it went.
The pair turned up to the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre for the aerobic and strength training that is designed to be doable, not for super Olympians.
"We felt so better after just one class and everyone was so friendly. Turns out we both really enjoyed it. I never thought I'd do anything like this but I've lost a bit of weight, my blood pressure's better and I've improved in everything."
Designed by the Australian Diabetes Council, BEAT IT is an innovative, tailored physical activity and lifestyle program.
It assists those at risk of, or living with, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Margaret's BEAT IT buddy, 70-year-old Maureen Webb, said she too was sceptical at first and told Margaret if she didn't like it, she would simply opt out.
"I loved it - I couldn't wait for the next class," Maureen laughs.
The pair finished a 10-week BEAT IT program at the end of last year and are now gearing up to start a 'graduate' BEAT IT program in early February.
When asked what she liked about BEAT IT, Maureen is quick to answer.
"The trainers, we were taken with them," Maureen says, although on further investigation turns out she wasn't talking about good looks.
"No! Not that," she says.
"It was just that they knew how to treat each age group and get you going; make you enthusiastic.
"The exercises really made me feel good - it definitely gave me more get up and go.
"I would never have gone on my own - I'm so glad Margaret asked me. I love it and I've even gone out and bought my own equipment so I can do exercises at home.
"We've actually talked a couple of other people into going now."
BEAT IT CLASSES
BEAT IT classes involve aerobic and strength training, but at a gentle pace.
During the program, classes start slowly and build as participants become fitter, stronger and more confident.
The sessions are fun, safe and supportive, with exercises specifically tailored to suit individual health and fitness levels.
These classes are subsidised, low-cost classes and are just $2 per session for adults who are unemployed, seniors, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, culturally diverse, refugees, carers or those with a disability.