By: National Diabetes Education Program
As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. You’re also at higher risk if you have a family history of diabetes. But you’re never too old to lower your diabetes risk. Studies have shown that modest weight loss through healthy eating and increased physical activity is highly effective in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes in people over age 60.
Getting Started: How to Get Moving
Physical activity can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. Start by setting small, specific goals for yourself, like: “I will walk for 10 minutes, three days this week.” Add a little more activity each day until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Ask your health care provider which activities are safe for you. Before any physical activity, be sure to warm up for a few minutes to get your body ready. Try shrugging your shoulders, taping your toes, swinging your arms, or just move in place.
Five Ways to Be More Physically Active
There are many types of physical activity you can do at little or no cost, such as walking or doing chair exercises. Find an activity you can enjoy. This will make it easier to stick to your schedule and reach your goals. Try these simple suggestions:
• Around the House. Things that you do every day are an opportunity to be more active. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands or rise up and down on your toes while standing and hold onto a stable chair or countertop. Try putting away the TV remote and get up to change the channel. You can also walk around the house when you talk on the phone or check out a fitness video from your local library and follow along.
• Around Town. Becoming more active can also be a great way to meet friends. Try joining a local walking group. Always walk in safe places such as a shopping mall, museum, or a community center, and make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
• While Running Errands. Make physical activity part of your regular routine. Park the car farther away from stores or restaurants. If you take the bus or train – and the neighborhood is safe – get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Go for a brisk walk between errands.
• With Your Family. Getting your family involved can make physical activity more fun. Teach the younger people in your life the dances you enjoy. You can even plan a trip to the local pool and go for a swim together. Moving around in the water is a great activity that is gentle on your joints.
• Get Outside. When you can, take your physical activity outside. Simple activities such as planting a garden or washing your car are great ways to get more active. You can also go for a walk with friends or family at the local zoo, nature park, or outdoor walking path.
For more tips to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, download or order the free It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes. Take Your First Step Today tip sheet from the National Diabetes Education Program at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or 1-888-693-NDEP (6337), TTY: 1-866-569-1162.