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
· Relieves stress
· Strengthens the heart, muscles and bones
· Improves blood circulation and tones muscles
· Improves flexibility
And no, you’re not too old to start.