Study Urges Seniors to Get Moving to Live Longer

A new study suggests that the most important benchmark for life longevity may be staying active and keeping fit.

The study tested 6500 people over the age of 70 by measuring their exercise limits on a treadmill or biking machine. Participants were tracked for 10 years, with 39% passing away by the end of the study.

Researchers found the participants who were active and fit, were twice as likely to be alive a decade later.

Participants with no risk factors had about the same chance of dying as those with three or more risk factors, according to the study, though researchers only found an association between fitness and life span.

“We found fitness is an extremely strong risk predictor of survival in the older age group — that is, regardless of whether you are otherwise healthy or have cardiovascular risk factors, being more fit means you’re more likely to live longer than someone who is less fit,” said lead author Dr. Seamus Whelton.

Researchers stress the importance of staying fit. Fitness can be measured using a treadmill or a biking machine. However, educators can also assess fitness by a self-report of a person’s physical activities as well.

The researchers believe that participants who are sedentary would benefit from beginning a routine of short exercises, but encourage movement newbies to check with their provider first.

To learn more: Study Urges Seniors to Get Moving to Live Longer – HealthyDay.

See our Exercise Resource Page for a bunch of wonderful handouts and movement ideas.

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Happy National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!

Every year on the first Wednesday of May, we celebrate “National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day,” to help spread the word on the dangers of sitting for long periods of time.

Here at Diabetes Education Services we believe creating healthy daily habits is imperative, particularly in the workplace. We will be participating this year by doing fun stand up exercises each hour to ensure we aren’t sitting for too long! 

Bev and Anne exercise everyday at 2:00 p.m., check out our exercise video here.

The ADA recommends light physical activity every 30 minutes. Anything from walking to leg extensions at your desk. Help us spread awareness by telling your colleagues and community about National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day! 

We want to hear about your favorite short exercise for your workday. Share your activity by commenting on our Get Fit Don’t Sit Facebook post today.

For more inspiration, enjoy our exercise resource page:

Exercise Resources

Don’t like exercise? – High-intensity incidental physical activity is HIIT

The commonly held wisdom is that activity had to last for at least ten continuous minutes to be beneficial, although there was no credible scientific evidence to support this.
New evidence, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, shows regular, incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing is likely to produce health benefits, even if you do it in 30-second bursts, spread over the day.
Incorporating more “high-intensity incidental physical activity” or HIIT, whether by vigorously sweeping the floor or carrying groceries, could be the key to getting high quality exercise each day. Even if this incidental physical activity only lasts for a few minutes, it can result in significant health benefits. In this study, simply by adding more incidental activity, described as, “any activity that is part of one’s daily living that is not done with the purpose of recreation or health and requires no discretionary time” improved overall health.

Some examples of HIIT may include walking or cycling to the grocery store, performing daily chores with intensity, or using the stairs instead of the elevator. This kind of activity prevents far fewer barriers than the concept of “exercising” which is physical activity that is both structured and planned. This study answers the question of how incidental physical activity can be maximized to improve health conditions.

The length of time for incidental PA can vary and is not structured. It can be just a few seconds such as climbing the stairs, “or several minutes or even hours of active commuting.”

This focus on short bursts throughout the day, offers the opportunity to incorporate vigorous physical activity into a busy lifestyle while receiving major health benefits. Incidental vigorous physical activity has been shown to be synonymous with partaking in exercise lasting 20-30 minutes.

These new research has,”opened new horizons for physical activity and exercise medicine practice by recognizing that any bout of physical activity count toward better health.” It is highly recommended to work on incorporating a short bout of HIIT to experience numerous health advantages and outcomes.


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Mindful Monday | Want success? Start with exercise first

The idea of a “lifestyle” overhaul can be intimidating. Getting healthier includes so many variables such as healthy

eating, exercise, better sleep and reduced stress. A recent study suggests that developing an exercise routine first results in a preference for healthier foods.

A study published by the International Journal of Obesity, concluded that starting an exercise routine often leads to healthier food choices. Instead of taking something away, you can add a physical activity. The researchers recruited 2500 college students who said they did not diet or exercise for more than 30 minutes a week. They were asked not to change their eating habits.

However, many of the exercise participants  changed their eating habits without being told to. The 2000 who stuck with the exercise plan, were more likely to eat more nutritious foods and less “junk” food. The more a participant exercised, the more their diet improved.

“Longer exercise duration was associated with a decrease in preference for foods characteristic of the standard western diet, such as red meat, fried foods and snack foods. Meanwhile, high-intensity exercise was associated with an increase in preference for healthy foods. Overall, Bray says, this means “compliance with the exercise program was associated with a move toward eating healthier overall.”

The diet didn’t delve deeper into why exercise fuels healthy eating, but likely biology and psychology are responsible.

However, scientists believe there is something more “I really do think exercise is altering neural processing in your brain. The stimulation of your brain that occurs with high-intensity exercise is what changes lots of things about your body,” Bray says.

To learn more: Exercising Might Help You Make Healthier Food Choices, Study Says – Time

To get started, see our Exercise Resource Page

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“Most U.S. kids not meeting sleep, exercise and screen time targets”

A new study suggests that only 1 out of every 20 teens in America is getting the physician recommended amount of sleep, exercise and screen time (time spent on devices).

The recommended amount of exercise for a teenager is 1 hour of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. Screen time should be limited to 2 hours per day. “Kids ages 6 to 12 old also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need 8 to 10 hours nightly.”

The study concluded that too little sleep and exercise and too much screen time can lead to chronic health issues such as obesity, mental health problems, poor academic performance and unhealthy behavior such as smoking and drinking.

However, these recommendations have been increasingly difficult for children and teenagers to meet. Similar to adults, it can be hard to meet all three requirements at the same time, versus focusing on one.

For the study, 59,000 kids were surveyed over four years. “Overall, just 3 percent of girls and 7 percent of boys spent the optimal time sleeping and being physically active while limiting screen time.”

The three factors seem to support each other. More exercise led to better sleep and less screen time. However, less exercise led to more screen time and less sleep.

The study urges parents to encourage their children to engage in physical activity that can help with sleep patterns. Schools also impact sleep due to early start times.

“Sleep and physical activity are two pillars that should not be sacrificed in childhood,” said Jonathan Mitchell of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Sleep is often sacrificed for other activities including spending time on cell phones, computers and watching TV. Teens and parents should be more cognizant of bedtime and focus on finding a balance between, sleep, exercise and screen time.

To learn more:  Most U.S. kids not meeting sleep, exercise and screen time targets – Rueters

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Mindful Monday | Exercise does help prevent depression

An international study has found a strong link between exercise and depression.

Commonly, exercise has been thought to prevent depression, but a study of the genetics of 300,000 people has now confirmed that a lack of exercise can lead to depression. 

Past studies have shown a link between lack of exercise and depression, however this is the first study to say that lack of exercise may cause depression. And it is often assumed that depression is a barrier to exercise.

“However, this new work by a team at Massachusetts General Hospital, US, shows a causal link between exercising and avoiding depression, and also shows that the opposite is not true – being depressed does not cause people to exercise less.” 

The study used data from self-reported activity and accelerometers (motion detecting devices). The self-reported activities were somewhat inaccurate, however the accelerators collected helpful data to support their hypothesis.

“With accelerometer data, the researchers found that replacing sedentary behavior with just 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, like running, or an hour of moderate activity, like fast walking, reduces depression risk by 26%.”

Researchers hope to utilize this data in promoting the role physical health can take on mental health. From a biological perspective, physical activity is linked to releasing “feel-good” hormones and can help with a person’s mood and can also help with other illness linked to depression like inflammation. Of course from a psychological perspective being “active” can help combat common depression symptoms like feels of isolation and void of meaning. 

Depression affects more than 300 million people around the globe. Mental health is just as important as physical health and exercising is a way to improve both! 

Please enjoy our Exercise Resource

To learn more: “Exercise does help prevent depression, research shows” – COSMOS The Science of Everything

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“How endurance exercise affects your gut bacteria”

New studies continue to link physical exercise to the diversity in gut bacteria. One of the most powerful discoveries is that exercise alone has the ability to change your gut microbiome. A new study at the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku in Finland, examines the correlation between endurance exercise and bacteria. 

Researchers found that exercise can boost the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). This bacteria helps with inflammation and keeping your get healthy.

The study enrolled 17 women who lived sedentary lifestyles, but were other wise healthy, into a 6-week program of bicycle endurance training. They did not change anything about their diet during this program.

Overall, at the end of the program, the researchers found a decrease in so-called proteobacteria — that is, gut bacteria that have the potential of causing inflammation — and an increase in beneficial bacteria called Akkermansia, which have links with a better metabolism.” 

Previous studies have found the bacteria Akkermansia was more commonly found in people who are physically active and may even protect individuals from diabetes and obesity. 

The exercise also had an effect on cardio metabolic health. “We found that phospholipids and cholesterol in VLDL [very low-density lipoprotein] particles decreased in response to exercise. These changes are beneficial for cardiometabolic health,” Pekkala explains, “because VLDL transports lipids from the liver to peripheral tissues, converts into ‘bad’ LDL [low-density lipoprotein] cholesterol in the circulation, and thus has detrimental cardiovascular effects.”

The scientists believe that if the training program continued, they would have seen greater effects on the participants gut bacteria and overall health.

To learn more: “How endurance exercise affects your gut bacteria” – MedicalNewsToday

For more information, Join our Level 4 – New Horizons – Getting to the Gut 1.0 CE

Join us to learn about the exciting advances in our understanding of the pathology of diabetes and novel approaches to prevention. We will discuss trends in diabetes diagnosis and classification.  The role and importance of gut bacteria in the pathology of type 1 and type 2 will explored. A detailed discussion on emerging research and clinical trial on interventions to delay or prevent diabetes is also included.



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Get pumped up about resistance training

Get Patients Pumped Up about Resistance Training

Resistance exercise uses more muscles than just walking. It uses upper body muscles that are rarely used in modern society today.  Resistance training also maintains or increases lean muscle. This helps to burn calories at rest throughout the day. This is important for weight control and diabetes management, especially as we age.

The ADA Standards of Care – Section 5 – Lifestyle Management, recommends that people should perform resistance training involving the major muscle groups at least 2 times per week.  How do educators help patients get started?There are many different ways incorporate resistance and strength training. Examples include free weights, resistance bands, rubber tubing, or even our own body weight, just to name a few.

The key is choosing a resistance program that steadily and systematically loads muscles to increase their ability to take greater loads.  

Focus on strengthening major muscle groups:  Start with 6-8 exercises that target major muscle groups (upper body, core and lower body).  It is also important to work opposing muscle groups.  For example, work both biceps and triceps not just biceps.

Getting Started

Start with 2 sets of 8 repetitions for each of the exercises twice a week. With a goal of working up to 2-3 sets of 12 repetitions twice a week. Slow, controlled movement using full range of motion is the goal with each repetition.

Determining level of resistance
Start with a weight or resistance level that is challenging, but doesn’t completely fatigue the muscle after 1 repetition.

Perform that exercise for 2 sets.

  • If rating is less than “somewhat hard”, increase resistance.
  • If rating is somewhat hard to hard, start with this resistance.

Perform the exercise to momentary fatigue counting the number of repetitions. If person can do more than 12 repetitions without fatigue, then increase the resistance by about 5% in the next session.  If there is momentary fatigue in less than 12 repetitions, keep the resistance the same the next time.

Indicators of fatigue include increased speed of movement, deteriorating exercise form and full available range of motion (ROM) is not completed.

What kind of resistance training equipment do you recommend?

  • Look for products that offers multiple options.
  • Exercises bands often come in a light, medium, and heavy resistance.
  • Look for adjustable weights that give options for increasing weight within one weight.

Weight Max: The average person performing good quality resistance training keeps it at 70-80% of 1 Repetition Maximum (max amount of weight they could use to complete 1 repetition )

Precautions: Make sure patients consult with a provider before exercising if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Proliferative retinopathy or current retinal hemorrhage.
  • Neuropathy, either peripheral or autonomic or foot injuries (including ulcers)
  • High blood pressure (especially if not well controlled)
  • Serious illness or infection.

Keeping Safe during exercise:

  • Have a blood glucose meter accessible to monitor glucose levels before, possibly during, or after exercise or any time that symptoms of hypoglycemia occur.
  • Immediately treat hypoglycemia with glucose tabs or 15 gram carbohydrate source.
  • Stay properly hydrated with frequent intake of small amounts of cool water.
  • Wear proper footwear, and check feet daily for signs of trauma such as blisters, redness, or other signs of irritation.

Product resources:  Here are just a few places to find exercise bands and weights.

  • Online sellers include Amazon
  • Goods stores like Dicks Sporting Goods, Sports Authority
  • Walmart has Adjustable Free weights. Brands to look for include Athletic Works or Gold’s Gym
  • Contact a local outpatient Physical Therapy clinic.

Training Routine Resources

Other Considerations:
If patients are concerned about starting a resistance training program because they have had injuries in the past, muscle imbalances, or unique physical circumstances, recommend they see a Physical Therapist to identify potential issues and create a program that is specific to their needs. Physical Therapists are truly the movement specialists!

Special thanks to our guest contributor, Diane Britton PT, CDCES, CEEAA. She has been a Physical Therapist for the last 24 years working with adults in a variety of settings, including home health. Diane holds specialties in diabetes, aging and exercise, lymphedema and chronic illness. She resides in Colbert, WA.