Figures from the World Health Organisation suggest there is in excess of 340 million people diagnosed with diabetes worldwide and tens of millions more living in ignorance. While the profile of the “typical” diabetic has changed dramatically, with diabetes more prominent than ever before in people under 40 years of age, it is becoming something of a challenge for those in later life, who develop senior diabetes. There are many ways in which you can combat the impact of diabetes, living your life to the full and these often involve exercising not only your body but also your mind.
Living with senior diabetes
Chances are by the time you reach later life, you will have a more clear understanding of how to live with and how to combat diabetes. This does not mean to say there are not challenges to everyday life, to your peace of mind and your fitness of body, but it means you are also able to live life to the full and enjoy. We will now take a look at two specific aspects of living with diabetes which involve exercising the body and exercising the mind.
Exercise and senior diabetes
It is common knowledge that a controlled exercise regime can have many benefits for a diabetic which include controlling blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight, helping to avoid health hazards such as heart disease as well as a feeling of general well-being. It is not over the top to suggest that a more active lifestyle, more fresh air and more exercise does make you feel better about yourself because it has been shown it releases chemicals in the brain which make you “happier”.
When you have diabetes it is vital that you consult your doctor before undertaking any significant change in your exercise regime which could impact the balance between your medication and your blood sugar level. Many experts advise that you should exercise between three and five days a week with an average exercise time of around 30 minutes per day. This exercise can take in an array of different types including aerobic exercise, walking, senior sports and fitness classes.
It is also interesting to see the change in exercise patterns amongst the older generation with many now willing and able to take on challenges such as Tai Chi, Yoga and even water aerobics and other water sports. The added benefit with water sports is the fact that while you are still exercising your heart and other areas of your body, the fact you are doing this in water reduces the pressure and the stress on your joints which can suffer as we get older.
Perhaps the major secret to actual physical exercise for diabetics in their later years is frequent exercise of a relatively short nature.
Exercise the mind
When we look at exercise, we very often focus upon physical exercise when in reality we do need to exercise our minds as well. Time after time, we have seen research programs confirming that a more sedate lifestyle not only attracts diabetes but for those with diabetes already it can make life a lot more difficult. As we touched on above, there is also the fact that various chemicals are released in the brain when you exercise that lead to a general feelgood factor.
It is also worth noting that many diabetics suffer from sleep problems, self-confidence problems and indeed depression and other mental illnesses are more common than you would expect. A frequent and relatively unchallenging exercise regime will assist with your sleep patterns because it will ensure that you are both physically and mentally tired when it is time for bed. There are also a number of studies which confirm that a lack of sleep not only leads to mental illnesses such as depression, etc., but it can also impact your overall health, increase stress and lead to other potential medical issues associated with diabetes.
No excuse for not exercising
When looking at exercise, both physical and mental, there are number of excuses which spring to mind, some misconceptions and some are just incorrect. One of the main misconceptions is that people in their older years are perhaps too weak and too old to begin a new exercise regime. In theory and in practice this is in many ways incorrect because a gentle exercise regime will assist in strengthening your muscles, your overall body and as we touched on above it can have a refreshing impact upon your mental health.
Those who suggest they may be too old to begin exercise are also missing out on a large aspect of everyday life, the opportunity to mix with people, the opportunity of fresh air and the chance to escape the four walls of their home. The reality is that we are never too old to begin exercise, we are never too old to get out and about as much as we can, although all of these exercises must be done with the consent of your doctor. Diabetes can be a dangerous medical condition if not respected and if certain guidelines are not adhered to.
Diabetes can be a debilitating illness if it is mismanaged or not respected and chances taken with your health and your well-being. The reality is that diabetes should not be a life-threatening condition, diabetes is manageable and indeed there is no reason, no matter what your age, why you should not enjoy a full and fruitful life.
When looking at exercise and diabetes, it is worth looking at physical exercise as well as your mental well-being. There are various medical conditions connected with the physical side of diabetes as there are various conditions connected with the mental side. You need to find a balance between the two in order to ensure your physical and your mental well-being going forward.
The trend in senior fitness classes, senior exercise programs and similar opportunities has grown dramatically over the last 20 years. Senior citizens are, on the whole, more active today than they ever have been and for those with diabetes this offers an opportunity to take advantage of a well-managed exercise program to control and fight the condition.