One of the most common types of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes, which typically affects seniors. However, being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t mean it’s too late to think about your health. You can prevent your condition from progressing by making lifestyle changes.
Here are four simple but effective ways to keep senior diabetes at bay.
1. Adopt healthy eating habits
One of the most common health tips is to watch what you eat. We’ve all heard of the saying, “You are what you eat.” Although overused, this advice is highly effective in achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Following a healthy diet can be beneficial for everyone, no matter what their health condition is. A healthier relationship with food can also help manage diabetes in seniors.
Here are some of the best practices in healthy eating.
- Eat less refined sugars and carbohydrates (white rice, caramel, molasses, table sugar, white bread, chocolates) and go for more complex carbohydrates (whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits, leafy vegetables)
- Go for grains, non-fat or non-dairy products, and proteins.
- Drink more water
- Try to portion your food intake to prevent overeating.
2. Get moving regularly
Because people with diabetes have difficulty converting sugar to energy, it stays stored in the body as fat. So, the best way to trim down any excess fat is to maintain a regular exercise schedule. Plus, exercise helps improve one’s mood. As we exercise, we reduce the number of stress hormones — cortisol and adrenaline — in our bodies. Then as we sweat, we secrete pleasure hormones called endorphins.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 30-minute low-impact aerobic workout every day for five days is enough to keep your heart, mind, and body healthy and happy.
Any guide to diabetes that you’ll find on the internet will tell you that exercise is a part of the journey to get healthy. Our bodies were made to be moving. Some examples of exercises that you can do are:
- Chair Yoga
- Aqua Aerobics
- Tai Chi
The most important thing about exercising is not about the difficulty of the workout but its consistency. There are many other easy exercises for seniors. It’s about persistence and commitment to our goal of maintaining a healthy lifestyle so we could prevent diseases like strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes in seniors.
3. Work on building healthy habits
It’s time to quit any bad habits you may have, as these can reduce the quality of life for anyone, with illness or not.
Build your healthy habits by starting with these tips.
- Stop your vices
- Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Heavy drinking can worsen diabetes-related medical complications, such as disturbances in nerve damage, fat metabolism, and eye disease.
- Take your vitamins
- Keep a good level of Vitamin D. Some doctors believe that Vitamin D helps improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
- Boost your immune system by taking in the 13 essential vitamins and minerals that keep the body functioning properly, namely vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). If you’re drinking a multivitamin tablet, read the label to see if you’re getting these vitamins.
4. Improve your outlook
As we all know, body health is essential, but maintaining a healthy mind is just as important, especially for those struggling with type 2 diabetes or any other illness. Getting sick is one of the few things that everyone can relate to. Everyone gets sick sometimes, and it’s not always because we allow ourselves to be.
If you’re worried about the dangers of diabetes, a great tip is to think about how you can prevent it. The simple tips shown above will significantly help you improve your health if followed correctly and regularly.
Practicing the so-called AND mindset of Positive Psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar is a great way to overcome some of your worries about diabetes. Here’s how you could practice positive thinking with diabetes:
“I constantly worry about the dangers of diabetes in seniors, AND I know that if I follow healthy eating habits, a regular exercise schedule, and a constant effort to manage my health, I will be able to prevent it.”
One more thing is that, instead of thinking about all the things you need to do and getting overwhelmed by the number of rules or do’s and don’ts, you can think about the effects these conscious changes may have on your body and focus on them. A great outlook can impact the way you tackle problems, not just health-related ones.
You’re the Change
The tips mentioned above are just some of the best-proven ways to manage, if not prevent, the onset of type 2 diabetes in seniors and anyone in general. No matter the age, it’s essential to stay aware of one’s body and what it needs to be healthy.
Taking care of yourself is the best choice you can make for yourself. Choosing to start to be proactive about your health is the change that will lead you to a healthier body and mind.
Tina Castro is an associate from Mountain Cove Care, a luxury senior care facility in Arizona. After working in hospice care for 3 years, she moved to Mountain Cove Care with a passion for advocating health and wellness to the community. In her spare time, she teaches yoga classes and goes on hiking trips.
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