Diabetes and Exercise for people over 50

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin which helps the body control blood sugar levels.

The Canadian Diabetes Association release a “Diabetes Charter” revealing that 3.4 million Canadian had Diabetes in 2015 and is predicting that number to rise to 5 million by 2025.

The Charter lists a few of the impacts of Diabetes for Canada:

  • Diabetes complications are associated with premature death. It is estimated that one of ten deaths in Canadian adults was attributable to diabetes in 2008/09
  • People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease and over 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for a non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population.
  • Thirty per cent of people with diabetes have clinically relevant depressive symptoms; individuals with depression have an approximately 60% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Foot ulceration affects an estimated 15-25% of people with diabetes. One-third of amputations in 2011- 2012 were performed on people reporting a diabetic foot wound.

Please see: https://www.diabetes.ca/getmedia/513a0f6c-b1c9-4e56-a77c-6a492bf7350f/diabetes-charter-backgrounder-national-english.pdf.aspx

There are several key risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Some factors are out of our control such as genetic history of the disease, age and being part of a cultural group with a high risk for the disease and some we control by our lifestyle choices such as body weight, diet and how active we are.

Our team of Vintage Fitness personal trainers work with clients with Diabetes everyday. 
Here are a few tips that make a difference for our Diabetic clients:

  • Check your blood sugar before your personal training session
  • Bring a quick acting sugar with you when planning to exercise
  • If you are overweight focus on cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming and rowing
  • Keep a food log and try recipes from Diabetes Canada (https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/recipes)
  • Buy high quality running shoes and socks with lots of support and enough room to wiggle your toes
  • Weight train.  A study done at the University of California with 4654 people over 60 and 9346 from 20-60 years old showed that low muscle mass is associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels in obese and thin people. This linkage means that low muscle mass and strength may be an early predictor of diabetes for all body types (University of California- May 27 2010; PloS One). 

This is a 12 week blog series discussing common medical conditions and exercise prescriptions for the older adult.

Want to learn more? Book a free virtual training session with a 50+ fitness expert. 

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Good Luck!


Vintage Fitness

Vintage Fitness is an in-home personal training company in Toronto, Canada. We specialize in energizing the lives of people over 50 with exercise.