Steve Wright says swimming can be a 'life saver' for people with diabetes

On World Diabetes Day, Steve Wright explains the positive impact swimming has had on his condition but also pleads with the Government to rethink the closure of pools during lockdown.

Steve, who starred in the ‘Moving Medicine’ wave of Swim England’s #LoveSwimming campaign, is a stroke survivor and lives with Type 2 diabetes.

He says that swimming is his primary method of exercise and has become central to his recovery, health, wellbeing and weight loss.

Steve said: “It helped in so many ways, being in a swimming pool.

“My aches and pains went, I felt much better when I was going into the pool and coming out of the pool. My weight loss, my wellbeing, my mood, everything just changed.

“Swimming became part of the routine – or should I say swimming helped me get into a routine.

“I was ignoring my diabetes. I wasn’t injecting every morning, I wasn’t taking the correct pills at the certain times.

“But because all of a sudden I had this goal and this opportunity to go and do something that I hadn’t done for years, it became part of the routine and swimming was part of my day.

“So I took my tablets in the morning, I did my injections, I went swimming. I felt better, therefore, I took my evening injections and medication and everything improved.

“I’ve still got my condition but everything helped me improve just by the pool becoming part of my Type 2 diabetic routine, and it was immense for me.”

However, pools were closed during the first and now the second coronavirus lockdown, and Steve admitted he hasn’t been able to find a replacement to swimming.

“I’ve been stuck in the house. I’ve got a part time job which has been brilliant but the problem is swimming was everything and I miss it so much,” he added.

“I just wish, because of my condition, that pools were open. I was so glad to get in the pool and now that it’s gone, it does have the reverse effect.

“It does affect my diabetes, it does affect my mood, it does affect everything about my wellbeing because the pool isn’t there.

“I’m not a brilliant swimmer but it was there for me and I was using it for me, I was just going up and down doing a few lengths and I felt absolutely brilliant. Taking that away has just been horrific.

Unbelievable benefits for many people

“I would plead with the Government to have a rethink. Think about the impact it’s having on people like me and thousands of others.

“Let’s open the swimming pools, let’s be more aware of the benefits the swimming pool has for people with this condition.

“It’s a life saver, it sounds a bit dramatic but it’s a life saver. A swimming pool can be a life saver and have unbelievable benefits for many people.”

As restrictions eased and England came out of the first lockdown period, pools reopened in July and Steve was able to get back in the water.

As a result, he was able to experience the Covid-19 safety measures that were in place, describing it all as ‘beautifully managed’.

He said: “The distancing is there, the health and safety and security is there, you can get in the pool you can do your lengths without hindering and having an impact on anybody else.

“I can still get into a position where I don’t need to inject every day and that’s because of the swimming pool.

“The pool can’t open quickly enough for me, it’s going to help me and it’s going to help other people.

“I just hope that it’s open very quickly after this second lockdown, it has so many benefits for so many people.”