Type 2 diabetic Jim Young takes the plunge

Jim_YoungKnown to locals as ‘Jim the Swim,’ 66-year-old Jim Young from Swansea takes a dip in the sea every day of the year. Many people ask him why, but most people ask him, “is it cold?”. At least he’s human and admits, “It’s freezing! What else can you expect in mid-winter, in an easterly gale loaded with sleet and snow!” He says he just loves it, and has been doing it for the past eight years with a short break after his diagnosis of diabetes.

A trained nurse (now retired), Young had read about the anti-obesity effects of brown fat which may be stimulated by cold. Before he retired Jim worked as a research technician in molecular biology in the genetics department of the medical school at Swansea, and has a sneaking suspicion that the release of endorphins from simply surviving the cold and wild seas may be one of the reasons why he always feels uplifted following his daily swim.

Although a slim, fit individual young was was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes accompanied by raised cholesterol. He is vegetarian and no longer owns a car. He was an unlikely candidate for developing diabetes but his father had late-onset diabetes and became insulin-dependent.

Initially after diagnosis he found the cold sea too daunting, discontinuing his winter swimming for a year, then decided to keep at it as the days shortened and the weather worsened. The sea cooled but this time Young’s enthusiasm did not and he kept on with his watery ritual and remains a daily dipper. He swims in Rotherslade Bay, Langland, a 30-minute walk through green fields and woods, and he Jim_swim_newspaper_clippinguses his beach hut there to change into his bather and to dry off afterwards. The impressionist painter Sisley immortalised the large rock in the bay in one of his paintings, and Young pays his own homage with a photoblog, Jim’s World

Young insists, “Whatever my diabetes throws at me keeps me young and keeps me going. All I need is a wild wave – and a towel to rub me dry.”

This news item first appeared in Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes kit) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.

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