Fifteen years ago, Alan Rosenthal was a fit 60-year-old who had just returned from a bicycle trip through France.
Then a blood test revealed type 2 diabetes.
His doctor gave him a three-day course on diet, exercise, and self-care. The doctor also recommended a local trainer. And even though Alan knew his way around a gym, he adopted a new perspective and learned workouts to keep him healthy.
“My goals were different when I was younger,” says Alan, who enjoys an active lifestyle with his husband, 78, who is not diabetic. “Our social life revolves around meals and eating, so there are challenges. But as time wears on, we’ve adjusted how we eat and our exercise.”
November is American Diabetes Month, a great time to highlight the link between exercise, diet and the disease, including for people over age 50.
Weight Is a Big Factor
The American Diabetes Association says 30 million Americans have diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death. It can affect every decision, including what to eat, and requires steady attention. Weight is a major factor. Exercise and proper eating are important in preventing and managing diabetes.
The ADA says we can take steps to prevent type 2, the most common form. “Stay at a healthy weight, eat well and be active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.”
The ADA defines type 2 diabetes as “characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people.”
Among Americans 65 and older, 25.2 percent or 12 million people have diabetes, the ADA says.
How Exercise Helps
Helps lower blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides
Lowers risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke
Strengthens the heart, muscles and bones
Improves blood circulation and tones muscles
And no, you’re not too old to start.
“Even if you’ve never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day,” the ADA says. “Even if your activities aren’t strenuous, you’ll still get health benefits.”
Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for it, the ADA says. “Get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy, from gardening to playing tennis to walking with friends.”
For Alan, that means working out with a trainer twice a week. He also enjoys biking, swimming, and walking.
Alan is determined to focus on all aspects of managing his illness – exercise, diet, checking his blood sugar, speaking with his doctor.
“I realize the importance of exercise in controlling my blood sugar,” Alan says. “As I look at my diabetes, the way I eat and the way I exercise… they go hand in hand.”
Don’t Let Fear Stop You
In this “scary” season, let’s talk about fear.
The fear that keeps you from improving your health and quality of life.
The fear of starting your fitness journey or, if you’re already on it, the fear of pushing yourself to new heights.
It can keep you frozen in your tracks worse than Dracula or the wolfman.
Fitness fears are common among everyone, not just people later in life. It’s common to feel worried about “fitting in” where it seems “everyone” is already in good condition and knows what they’re doing. Some people might be scared they’ll fail or get hurt. Maybe you’re intimidated by the thought of trying something new.
Think of F.E.A.R. as False Evidence Appearing Real.
Well, this is the perfect time of year to prove it. That means taking action, even if you remain fearful. Bravery doesn’t mean being fearless – it’s doing the right thing even when you’re frightened.
We’re here to help everyone take steps to a healthier, happier life. Come see us today and we’ll show you there’s nothing to fear but – yep – fear, itself.
You’ll find a warm, supportive environment, and a team to show you safe, effective, and fun exercise. And, most importantly, you’ll discover the strength inside you. Once you start on this journey, you get stronger, braver and better in every way.
Enjoy the holiday season with energy and confidence, rather than fear and anxiety. Happy Halloween, indeed!