Challenging diabetes through sport

By | Health & Wellness
Team Novo Nordisk take to the mountains of Argentina in their first competition of the 2014 season this week: BrakeThrough flickr.com

The world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team are set to start their new season on Monday, taking to the mountains of Argentina to compete in the seven day Tour de San Luis. The Novo Nordisk team represents a global all-diabetes sports group of cyclists, tri-athletes and runners on a mission to educate and empower people affected by diabetes through their representation at major sporting events.

The Novo Nordisks philosophy aims to improve conditions for the people who live with diabetes and those who could develop it. Sporting the campaign’s ‘Changing Diabetes’ slogan on their team kits, cars and uniforms, the company and their beliefs are swiftly becoming one of sports most admirable movements. The Danish company also has leading positions within hemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.

Since their launch in December 2012, they cycling team have competed in more than 55 races, spanning more than 9,500 km across 15 countries in the process, and inspiring thousands of people living with diabetes across the world. Results from last year were promising for a new and young team, achieving three podium finishes, and a mountain and sprint jersey. The new team line-up includes 17 all-diabetes professional riders from 10 different countries, including latest editions Ben Dilley from the USA, Charles Planet and Nicolas Lefrancois from France, and Rudd Cremers from The Netherlands.

Team Novo Nordisk on one of their many campaign rides to help spread awareness of diabetes

Team Novo Nordisk on one of their many campaign rides to help spread awareness of diabetes

Team Novo Nordisk are enthusiastic at the prospects of helping diabetes awareness this year, starting with the cycling: “In 2014 we aim to build on our early successes and are determined to show the world that when you have diabetes you can still achieve your goals and live the way you want,” said Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO.

The Tour de San Luis is part of the International Cycling Union (UCI) American Tour and boasts a strong line-up, comprising of 150 riders with 12 WorldTour and four pro continental teams. Held annually during Argentina’s summer season, the race includes more than 1,030 km of racing with three summit finishes, a time trial in the city of San Luis and a classic sprint on the final day, as well as further road race stages.

Jakob Riis, executive vice president, Marketing & Medical Affairs, Novo Nordisk, added: “As part of our long-standing programme, ‘Changing Diabetes’, Team Novo Nordisk is making a huge contribution to the goal of raising broad awareness of the diabetes pandemic, and further inspiring millions of people living with diabetes across the world.”

American team rider Matthew Brooks was diagnosed with diabetes in 1995. Speaking on the Team Novo Nordisk website he has explained how it took him a long time to fully understand his condition and how to benefit from it: “ It’s just a normal every day part of my life now; however, at first it took a while to understand my body, and exercise. It took around eight years after being diagnosed to understand how much exercise helps me to control my diabetes thus I make sure it’s part of my everyday life.”

The professional cyclist says that having diabetes helped him to grow up quicker as he had to watch what he ate and keep tabs on exercise regimes. If you have diabetes then Team Novo Nordisk is a fine example of the achievements that can be made, whether you dream of becoming the next sporting star or simply want to enjoy exercise more regularly, you too can aspire to achieve more.

Are there more examples of sport helping to inspire and explain common health conditions?

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