It's Never Too Late to Begin Exercising!

Researchers and healthcare providers have long long been preaching the positive health benefits of physical activity.  Recently, overwhelming research has supported the benefits of being physically active even later in life.  Researchers have found that exercising regularly reduces the risk of death, even when started in middle age (age 40-61). They found that leisure time physical activity (LTPA) is associated with reduced risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular-related mortality, and cancer mortality.

They found that 2-7 hours per week of LTPA is associated with several health benefits consisted of reduced risk of all-cause mortality (29-36%), reduced risk for CVD-related mortality (32-43%), and reduced risk for cancer mortality (14-16%). Further, they found that these results were similar to those who maintained high LTPA from adolescence.

Further research has found the association between physical activity in older adults and decreased risk of chronic disease and death. Older women (age 63 and older) who engage in light physical activity (LPA) may have a lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Light physical activity includes activities such as gardening and folding clothes. Those with the highest LPA saw a 42% reduction in coronary death and 22% reduction in CVD events.

These results demonstrate that it is never too late for adults to become active. The research supports that there are substantial benefits that can still be gained by improving physical activity habits later in life. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to exercise and goal setting. Additionally, we can assist in providing support for adhering to a physical activity habits and decreasing the risk of mortality.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources:  Even Later-Life Exercise Reduces Mortality. Janis C. Kelly – Medscape – March 8, 2019.; Saint-Maurice, P., Coughlan, D., & Kelly, S., et al. (2019). Association of leisure-time physical activity across the adult life course with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Network Open, 2(3).; Light Activity Lowers CVD Risk in Older Women. Nora MacReady – Medscape – March 19, 2019. Photo by sk on Unsplash

Physical Activity as a "Prescription" for Type 2 Diabetes with Cardiovascular Disease

Most individuals with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are not physically active. However, researchers have recently found that regular exercise can help reduce the risk of death for people with these co-morbidities. Clinicians explained that having type 2 diabetes can double the risk of premature death. They have found, however, that individuals who are more fit can see a reduced risk for the chances of premature death. In fact, the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EPAC) actually recommends exercise or physical activity as a “prescription” for patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This recommendation comes with the goal of reducing premature death.

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Using exercise as a prescription for treating type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be an effective way of increasing your life expectancy. Clinicians outline that exercise training should be included in the treatment plan for those with both diagnoses. The benefits of adding physical activity and exercise to your lifestyle include improved glucose control, blood pressure, lipid status, and body composition. Additionally, they emphasize that because these individuals are at an increased risk for premature death, they need more than just medication. A personalized exercise plan can help improve overall health.

Before beginning exercise, it is important to assess for co-morbidities, exercise risks, and personal preferences. It is recommended that individuals start at a low intensity, such as walking. Clinicians explain that the goal of increasing physical fitness is to improve glucose regulation for those with type 2 diabetes. The emphasis is not just on weight loss but also improved outcomes for the disease. An important piece of adding exercise to your treatment plan is to monitor your motivation for long-term adherence. Adding physical activity can not only help with the treatment of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but can also improve your overall health and reduce the risk of premature death. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to exercise and goal-setting. Further, we can assist with providing support for maintaining adherence and decreasing the risk of mortality.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: Kemps, H., et al. (2019). Exercise training for patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. What to pursue and how to do it. A position paper of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC). European Journal of Preventive Cardiology;New Paper: How to Get Patients with Diabetes/CVD Moving. Marlene Busko,Medscape, January 22, 2019; MetkusJr., T., Baughman, K., & Thompson, P. (2010). Exercise prescription and primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Circulation, 121(23), 2601-2604