A mum and daughter are taking big strides towards improved personal fitness as they take on the One Million Step Challenge in support of Diabetes UK.
Dianne Mathieson, from Elderslie, started the challenge in July and inspired her daughter Kay to join her.
They are aiming to complete a million steps each by the end of September, raising money to support people with diabetes and getting more fit and healthy in the process.
The challenge sees people being sponsored to complete one million steps in three months, from July 1 to September 30, which is approximately 10,850 steps daily.
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Dianne, 62, who has type 2 diabetes, is just over halfway through the challenge and has already seen the health benefits.
Her latest checkup showed improved blood results and a reduction in the amount of medication she needs to take.
Dianne said: “I am living with type 2 diabetes and I have many family and friends who are living with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“I have seen and experienced the impact of living with the condition, so I wanted to do something to help raise awareness and money, particularly to support research towards new treatments and medical advances.
“I am also delighted that by taking on this walking challenge, I have benefitted from a personal health improvement with my diabetes becoming more controlled so that I no longer have to take as many medications.”
Kay, 38, got involved to support her mum and also saw the opportunity to boost her own fitness levels, which she feels have suffered since becoming a mum herself.
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Kay said: “Like many parents, I’ve dedicated all of my time in my daughter’s early years to her.
“I recently realised I hadn’t included much time for myself, particularly to looking after my health.
“When I had to go for blood tests recently, I was fully expecting there to be a positive result for type 2 diabetes. I am very thankful that the test came back negative.
“However, it gave me the impetus I absolutely needed to realise that my body deserved more respect than I was giving it.
“The healthier I am, the happier I’ll be, and the more I can offer to my little girl and all other aspects of my life.”
The dedicated pair tend to fit their steps around their own individual schedules during the week but make a point of getting together at the weekend for a longer walk.
They appreciate the accountability the challenge gives them, knowing they must reach a target number of steps each day.
When the weather is bad, they have found different ways of boosting their step count indoors such as virtual walks around Rome, Zumba or dancing with Kay’s four-year-old daughter Aimee.
Dianne has also incorporated litter picking and gardening in her community as part of her daily step challenge.
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Kay added: “A particular favourite walk for us is the Bluebell Woods in our very own village of Elderslie.
“There are lots of wee fairy villages that have been added by the local community, so it gives us something nice to look at and is somewhere where my mum, Aimee and I can all go to easily.
“We’re also very lucky to have lovely parks and places like Loch Lomond and Ayrshire nearby, so we’ve used the opportunity to get some steps in with family on days out. It certainly feels easier with company!”
Diane says her health, stamina and well-being all improved in a matter of weeks.
She has thanked everyone for their support, adding: “We’re walking with our heads high and shoulders back, taking on the challenge one day and step at a time.
“We’d also like to thank everyone who has been supporting us with encouragement and donations.
“Some of the local businesses have generously donated prizes, which we’ll be raffling to raise more donations.
“We’re also delighted that some of those businesses have agreed to hold a donation box on our behalf in their premises.
“We hope that people will, if they can, add a small contribution to those cans which will be a fantastic addition to our overall fundraising.
“We’re hoping we can raise £800 if not more – we really appreciate all the support we’ve received in donations, particularly as this is such a difficult time for so many people”.
Angela Mitchell, national director of Diabetes Scotland, revealed efforts like this are key to funding research.
She said: “We’re really grateful to Dianne and Kay for supporting our work to fund groundbreaking research, care services and campaigns that can change the lives of those living with diabetes.”