Heidi McGregor, who lives with multiple long term conditions, talks about what motivates her to keep physically active.
Hello my name is Heidi and I live in a small village on the coast of North Ayrshire
What long term conditions do you live with?
I have two long term conditions, the first one is called Pernicious Anaemia, although this condition can be fatal if untreated I am fortunate in that mine has been diagnosed and is easily treated with an inter muscular injection every 12 weeks.
The second condition I live with is called Rheumatoid Arthritis this condition although manageable it is a bit more complex than my first, a common theme running through both conditions is extreme fatigue.
What does self management mean to you?
Selfmanagement for me is about courage, in order to move on from diagnosis you have to accept the conditions with all it’s flaws, this for me took courage, courage to overcome what is a progressive degenerative condition and take control of my life again.
How active are you?
During my life I have always been fairly active person, however being diagnosed with not one but two long term conditions I found it difficult to get motivated living with constant fatigue and pain is a challenge and it truly took the wind out my sails.
How did you become more active/what motivated you to become active?
I started by walking on my own, very short distances I would take the car to a flat path and walk in the fresh air for as little as a few minutes. I began to build up my stamina again and soon became able to walk for longer. I joined a support group run by Arthritis Care Scotland and got the opportunity to volunteer and train as a walk leader with Paths for All. I was involved in setting up a small Health walking group (short distances never more than 30 minutes and always accessible to wheelchairs) aimed at encouraging inactive people to become more active.
How does physical activity help you self manage your condition(s)?
It was through this I discovered Walking was part of my medicine, I needed it every day, particularly on bad days.
What benefits do you see from being active?
Meeting the same friendly faces and getting out in the fresh air and becoming more active has played a huge part in my recovery, I always feel better once I have made the effort it gives me a lift both emotionally and physically it stimulates me and actually gives me energy to continue throughout the day.
What are your key messages? (How would you encourage others to become more physically active as a way of managing their long term condition(s)?)
Walking is free so why not join me and get the benefits of regular walking.