At 75 years old, one County Durham pensioner is getting faster, fitter and healthier with age.
After losing almost four stone, Stanley Johnson is ditching the walking stick he once relied on and can easily complete 6,000 steps a day.
It’s a remarkable change for Stanley, who previously suffered with sore knees due to his weight, which limited the amount of walking he could do.
But after a visit to his GP revealed that he was at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, he was given the opportunity to transform his health.
Stanley, from Wolsingham, said: “Walking was extremely difficult, and I could not walk any more than a quarter of a mile, but I tended to waddle due to carrying excess pounds.
“The extra weight resulted in both my knees becoming extremely uncomfortable, and I had to use a walking stick. I was becoming breathless also.”
Blood tests revealed that Stanley had high blood sugar levels and his GP offered him the opportunity to join the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, Healthier You.
After feeling sceptical, he finally accepted the offer and joined the program, which is run in partnership with WW, formerly Weight Watchers.
He added: “Initially I was sceptical but decided that I would give it a go, and after the first workshop, I was concerned as to whether I had done the right thing and started attending a local workshop in my area.
“Then Covid and lockdown hit, and I was advised to attend online workshops, and as I was not familiar with Zoom or other apps such as Facebook, I just didn’t think it would be for me.
“But with the patience and support of the WW staff, I was up and running in no time, and very quickly started to enjoy the support and accountability the weekly virtual workshops gave me.”
Now he has reversed his risk of developing diabetes after slimming from 15st 5lb to 11st 8lb, and has reduced his blood sugar reading from 43 to 35.
Stanley said: “My knees no longer hurt, and I now walk around 6,000 steps every day.
“Just as well I can manage that, as I have a new pup who needs plenty of activity. My quality of life has drastically improved, and I am able to walk longer distances without getting out of breath.
“I do not need to rely on a walking stick to the degree I did previously, and gardening duties are much more pleasurable. Small things like walking up the stairs are now easy too.”
He added: “My advice to anyone thinking about joining the NHS/WW NDPP programme, and feeling nervous, I would highly recommend this course.
“Remember this is not ‘boot camp’, and it’s not a crime to occasionally stray from the objective providing that you have the mental strength to get back on course and you no doubt will reap the benefits accordingly.
“Thank you to the NHS and WW for making me the best version.”
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