fitness for seniors concept

Fitness for Seniors With Type 2 Diabetes

Inactivity becomes more prominent as a person ages. Many bodily changes happen over the course of aging, and that’s natural. However, this can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. That’s not to say that you can finally do away with exercise. Aging is not a solid excuse to get away from regular exercise. In fact, it’s all the more reason why you should nail down your workout routine as the lack of it may cause chronic diseases. Regular exercise aids in managing and coping with chronic conditions, one of which is diabetes.

Let go of your excuses and start doing yourself a favor. Enhance overall health while managing your diabetes through regular exercise.

What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is prevalent in seniors aged 65 and above, with 26.8% or 14.3 million diagnosed or undiagnosed. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar in the body is too high. It comes in two forms: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body can no longer make insulin. Thus, others are advised to manage it with insulin, paired with a healthy diet and exercise. The onset is usually at a young age, but others can develop this later in life.

Meanwhile, Type 2 diabetes is common in older adults. A person is more likely to develop it if they have an inactive lifestyle, are overweight, or have a familial history of the condition. But unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented.

Does Exercise Really Help Manage Chronic Conditions?

Let’s have an example to illustrate this point. In this case, let’s use Type 2 diabetes. Because weight gain plays a role in diabetes, exercise improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels while losing bodyweight. In another example, cardiovascular disease symptoms can be mitigated and managed through exercise. Using beta-blockers has the same effect as regular physical activity. While medication treats the symptoms through synthetic means, exercise does it through physiologic systems. In other words, exercise can serve as a natural treatment for diseases.

Regular exercise provides a host of other positive health outcomes such as enhanced bone health, improved immune system, and reduced inflammatory cell accumulation, to name a few.

What Do the Experts Have To Say?

diabetes concept

The American Diabetes Association recommends a significant decrease of time spent staying sedentary. That goes with staying active, of course. About 2 to 3 sessions of exercise a week will do the trick! But should you be sitting for the majority of the day, make sure to have frequent yet light activity to enjoy blood glucose benefits.

In formulating a workout plan, it’s recommended to have one that’s tailor-fit to your preference and limitations. Balance exercises should also be done to supplement your workout plan.

Recommended Forms of Exercise

The National Institute on Aging shares the recommended physical activities for common chronic conditions in seniors, such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, arthritis, heart conditions, and more. But overall, the recommended forms of exercise include swimming, brisk walking, biking, weightlifting, and gardening. However, dementia care should be in place for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

As for diabetes, aerobic, resistance exercises, or a combination of the two are proven effective in its management. Aerobic exercise boosts glycemic control when done for at least 150 minutes per week. Meanwhile, resistance exercise or using weights helps improved strength and endurance in the elderly by 50%. But an ideal formula would be a combination of both. This combination was found to enhance overall health and glycemic control.

To give you an idea of physical activities to do, Healthline suggests these great ones for Type 2 diabetes: walking, cycling, swimming, team sports, aerobic dance, weightlifting, resistance band exercises, calisthenics, pilates, and yoga.

But even when you’re not doing your exercise for the day, find ways to stay physically active. This can be as simple as having bouts of stretching in times when you’re sitting down for a long time or religiously walking your dog every day.

The bottom line is to do your exercise. It holds too many health benefits for you not to consider it. Take control of your health and start practicing habits that are beneficial to you. Exercise will not work by itself. A well-balanced diet, regular checkups, and other health habits will help you achieve your exercise goals.

Exercise is not a one-size-fits-all. Consult and collaborate with your physician to formulate an effective and suitable workout plan fit for your needs.

Scroll to Top