Being Active: Older Adults with Diabetes and Prediabetes

By American Diabetes Association

Diabetes is a common condition in seniors. More than 25 percent of Americans over 60
years of age have diabetes (10.9 million persons) and almost 400,000 Americans 65 and older are diagnosed with diabetes every year. The vast majority of these cases are type 2, as age is a risk factor for this type of diabetes.

Another condition, prediabetes, is even more common and probably affects an additional 50 percent of Americans over 65. Prediabetes is where one’s blood glucose level is above normal, but not high enough to warrant the diagnosis of diabetes. It is important for seniors to be aware of prediabetes because it is very common and greatly increases one’s risk to develop type 2 diabetes.

As you get older, preventing or managing diabetes can become a bit more challenging, but it’s not impossible. Exercising is one of the most important things you can do to take care of your health.

Managing your diabetes. There are several things you need to do to manage your diabetes, at any age. Keep your blood glucose levels at target range by making healthy changes in your meal plan and taking your medications (if indicated). Control your blood pressure and cholesterol, and quit smoking, if you do, to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, increase your physical activity.

Benefits of physical activity. Physical activity is the cornerstone of diabetes management and, along with modest weight loss, it has been shown to prevent type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes. Physical activity can take many forms, from formal exercise programs such as tai chi and walking, to just adding more activity to your day, such as working in the yard.

The benefits of physical activity are many and include helping with weight loss, raising HDL cholesterol (the good kind), lowering blood glucose levels and improving your sense of well-being. Increased activity can benefit you whether you have long-standing diabetes or are newly diagnosed.

Getting started. Older adults with diabetes should follow a few precautions when starting an exercise program. If you have heart problems, check with your health care provider before starting a strenuous exercise program.

If you are using insulin, glyburide, glipizide or glimepiride, upping your activity can increase your risk for low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Be sure to check your blood glucose more frequently when you exercise, carry fast-acting carbohydrate and wear a medical ID bracelet.

Although everyone should wear well-fitted shoes when exercising, if you have loss of feeling in your feet (neuropathy), you should check your feet after exercise. Look for any red spots, which may indicate too much pressure from your shoes. Cushioned socks may help, but be sure they don’t make your shoes too tight.

Take your time. However you decide to increase your activity level, start slowly and increase gradually. For example if you choose walking, walk short distances at first, increasing speed and distance weekly. If you choose a program with weights, start with low weights and increase the weights little by little every month.

If you are interested in group activities, you might see if the program “Enhanced Fitness” is available in your area. Although not specifically for seniors with diabetes, this program is evidenced based and includes stretching, balance, aerobics and hand and leg weight lifting. Visit to find a nearby program.

If you have difficulty walking, the “Sit and Be Fit” exercise program may be a better option for you. Each chair exercise program is carefully researched and designed by health professionals and exercise specialists. The program is broadcast on PBS. Please visit this website for more information:

Resources. The American Diabetes Association has developed a guide to help adults 55 and up manage their diabetes. The Living Healthy with Diabetes booklet provides information and tips about healthy food choices, physical activity, diabetes medications, prevention and treatment of complications, traveling with diabetes, caregiving and more.

Linda Haas, CDE, RN, PhC, MN, served 34 years as the endocrinology clinical nurse specialist at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. She is a Past President, Health Care and Education, for the Association; has served as chair of the Association’s Recognition Committee; and helped author the Association’s position statement on Diabetes in Older Adults. She currently serves on the Association’s Older Adult Subcommittee.


Chief Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah

About Chief Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah

About Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah C.B. Helping Hands Ministries Founder/Overseer / Business owner / Nurse, Friend, Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah, a small town country girl with a big heart. That big heart didn’t go unnoticed by God. At age 8; Apostle Shelia made the most important decision of her life. She decided to follow Christ. It wasn’t long before she heard the calling of God upon her life to reach the lost at any cost. To touch lives, one person at a time. By age 15 she was actively ministering to many in her community. From the young to the elderly, and even the dying; she has made it a priority to care for the souls of those in need. Today Apostle Shelia leads the C.B. Helping Hands Ministries team on a greater call. A call to reach the lost not just in our community but also around the world. C.B. Helping Hands Ministries and Apostle Shelia have become the vessel that God is using to bridge the gap between generations and touch the hearts of a lost, and dying world. Daily she ministers to the homeless, battered women, suicidal people and at risk youth among others. As a John Maxwell certified coach, and speaker she travels the world adding value to others. She is dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and helping others see their true potential. With a never quit attitude and unwavering faith, she has been able to build C.B. Helping Hands Ministries and testify of God’s provisions and unfailing love. Making sure to always give God the honor and praise. She motivates young adults like none other. She has become a renown inspirational speaker like none other. She is real, she is alive, she is on fire and excited about transforming, and adding value to others.. She is new, real, and a breath of fresh air. Called, and anointed for such a time as this.
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.