One of the conditions that older adults are more susceptible to is diabetes. It can also be a result of obesity, which leads to many other disease processes. If you have diabetes or are on track to become diabetic, here is some information on diabetes and how physical activity can help improve your life.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic condition where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t react to it as it should. Foods that we eat are turned into sugars called glucose and used as energy or stored as fat until it is needed. The cells of the pancreas produce insulin which helps glucose to travel to the cells where it is used for energy.
When there is not enough insulin to do the job, the glucose stays in the bloodstream, raising the level of blood sugar. High levels of blood sugar can lead to damage in the organs and other systems of the body. Diabetics are known to have nerve damage, poor healing capabilities after sustaining wounds, renal damage and heart disease. There are two types of diabetes, 1 and 2, the most common of which is Type 2 diabetes.
How exercise can help
Diabetes in the body can set off a cascade of other problems. Seniors with diabetes are often dependent on insulin or, if not, they are taking pills for other conditions that have led to diabetes or have been caused by the diabetic condition. But, diabetes doesn’t have to lead to critical illnesses.
Exercise can help. Even if you already have diabetes, you can still exercise and improve your overall fitness and health. You may even discover that your diabetes improves to the point where you are no longer dependent on medication.
Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight. People who are obese are at greater risk of developing higher blood sugar levels and diabetes. Combining exercise with a sensible diet will help your blood sugar remain constant and not spike signaling increased insulin production.
Exercise also lowers other elevated levels such as cholesterol and blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to the heart pumping harder to move the blood through the body. If you have formed cholesterol plaques, this puts you at higher risk for stroke and heart attack.
Always consult your doctor before beginning any sort of fitness program. They will advise you on what exercises are safe and how long you can work out. Until your blood sugar comes back in line with proper fitness, be aware of times that it is low. Always carry a high carbohydrate snack such as juice or candy with you when you workout so you can remedy hypoglycemic episodes.
You don’t have to give up on getting healthy because you are diabetic. Exercise increases your overall health and can improve your diabetes.