Exercising with others was the most enjoyable aspect of the 10-week YMCA Living Life Well programme for 61-year-old Filimone Vuna.
‘It encouraged us to be together. It made us more relaxed and we had a good time,’ he says.
Filimone also gained a lot from it physically. His blood pressure improved, he felt fitter, found he was walking further and that he was breathing more easily.
Rowing was his favourite exercise within the 2-hour sessions.
‘I was born on a small island and remember rowing a lot as a child so I really did like doing it again, even if I was in a gym and not on the water.’
When Fifita McCready told Filimone about the pilot programme, he jumped at the chance to get into a gym to exercise.
‘Usually the gym is too expensive and I wanted to be stronger and fitter.’
Filimone continues to exercise by working in his large back garden and walking down to the school to collect his grandchildren after school most days.
Filimone has had diabetes for many years, although there is no family history of it. A church leader, he spends a lot of time during the week visiting the elderly. He used to run an exercise group for the elderly people in the church and he is thinking of starting up again.
‘Being with others is such a good way to exercise.’
This story is part of Tongan Health Society’s Langimalie Centre cardiovascular disease projects.
Read the next story in this series: Exercising and cutting out fatty food helps control diabetes.