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Exercise can slow rate of aging for diabetes patients

October 22, 2012

Exercise is always important, and when it comes to healthy aging, staying physically active is especially crucial. However, new research suggests that one group of older adults may enjoy greater benefits from exercising, as a study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that regular physical activity can delay the premature aging of the cardiovascular system in diabetes patients.

The study was focused on preventing the increased loss of fitness in people with type 2 diabetes. Experts say that while most older adults lose about 10 percent of fitness every decade after they turn 40 or 50, diabetes patients have about 20 percent lower function than healthy adults.

The research, which featured an analysis of previously-conducted trials, was published by the American Physiological Society and served to confirm previous work on the subject. Specifically, the team noticed that diabetes patients who exercised regularly for 12 to 20 weeks improved their fitness levels by about 40 percent.

"Type 2 diabetes has a significant negative impact on health, but that impact can be improved with as simple an intervention as regular brisk walking or other physical activity that most people with diabetes can do," said researcher Amy Huebschmann.

Although the results highlight the importance of exercising for older adults with diabetes, they should encourage seniors with other health conditions to stay physically active as well. According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise can help seniors manage a number of other conditions, ranging from arthritis pain to the rate of anxiety and depression that can sometimes be common in seniors. Most experts recommend that older adults get about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.