Karen walking with a backpack
  • 12 July 2023

Age is no barrier to improving your life

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Karen Tucker

In 2001, I went to see my doctor, as I was constantly coming down with colds. I was originally told it was ‘normal’. I was also tired all the time, with no energy for exercising. Eventually, after a number of tests, I was diagnosed with diabetes, aged only 35.

By 2020, I was on 6 pills a day and likely to need insulin injections daily. I was also in the middle of the menopause and could not lose a single pound of my 14 stone 4lbs, no matter what I tried.

I’ve rarely exercised voluntarily, without having some reason to do so. The last time I went to a gym was probably over 20 years ago. I was told, move more, eat less, and you will lose weight. I tried that and it didn’t work.

My partner suggested that we change our eating habits, cutting down on our carbohydrate intake, including the crisps I always craved. I’ve now lost well over 2 stone with this new way of eating.

An unexpected effect of changing my diet was that I found myself needing to do some exercise. I had to use up all the new energy I now had. I started to go out for runs, and I especially enjoyed running up hills!

One effect I did expect was that it rolled back my diabetes. From taking 6 pills a day, I now only take one. But the diabetes hasn’t completely gone, and neither has all my excess weight. So my partner and I started talking about what we could do next and that’s when we came up with the insane plan to walk the South Downs Way. This is a 101.4 mile route from Winchester to Eastbourne. It has some spectacular views, and plenty of places to camp.

I’m now training for this walk by taking a 16kg rucksack, laden with dumbbells, on twice-weekly hikes of over an hour around Tunbridge Wells Common and Mote Park in Maidstone. Walking on the Common the other day, I worked out that my pack weighs less than the amount of weight I’ve lost, so I don’t know what my legs are complaining about.

I’m already fitter, lighter and more energetic aged 57 than I was aged 35. They say life begins at 40, so my new start has been a bit delayed. But better late than never!

So if you feel that life and years are passing you by, it doesn’t have to be like that. While there’s life, there’s hope, and I’m living proof that age is no barrier to improving your life.

Please seek medical advice if you’re unsure about exercising with an existing health condition.


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