Many people over the age of 60 are living with diabetes. There is actually a worldwide epidemic of diabetes, primarily related to various lifestyle changes including obesity, and an increase in sedentary habits. According to the World Health Organization, total deaths from complications related to diabetes are expected to increase by more than 50 percent worldwide within the next 10 years, and by 80 percent in upper to middle-income countries.
Even though it’s a dangerous disease, it can be tamed. Let’s take a look at the four lifestyle changes that are a surefire way to manage diabetes.
#1. Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Per Day
Research shows that people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes before they reach 60 years old are at a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. If you were diagnosed later than that, you are already in a better position than most.
However, that doesn’t give you a free pass when it comes to getting your daily exercise. You should increase your heart rate for 30 minutes each day. No excuses. Stand up and get moving.
If you don’t feel like going to the gym, you still have plenty of options. The source of the exercise is not important, as long as you get the job done.
Consider these exciting and fun ways to get moving:
- Visit your local museum and climb the stairs while you are at it
- Take care of your garden or start growing herbs indoors
- Go hiking and explore the nature around you
- Invite friends to have a picnic at your local park
- Register for a free dancing lesson with your friends
- Pick a spot and go camping together with your family
- Transform your garage or attic into a game room, library, or home gym
- Try out such sports as tennis, frisbee, or badminton
- Wake up earlier and go out for a swim in a lake
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#2. Aim To Reduce Your Waist Size
Measuring your body mass index (BMI) might seem like a logical step that leads to keeping a healthy weight. While true in many cases, 18.5-24.9 body mass index is not the only measurement you should be keeping an eye on if you are diagnosed with diabetes. Body mass index doesn’t take into consideration your muscle and fat ratio.
Knowing where your fat builds up is essential. If it gathers around your waist and covers your liver or pancreas, it could cause insulin resistance. Your waist size is a great indicator that puts you on the right track to managing diabetes.
What is the healthy waist size? Aim for:
- Less than 31.5 inches (80 cm) for most women
- Less than 37 inches (94 cm) for most men
What’s the alternative method of finding out the right waist size for your frame? Your waist should be less than the number you get after dividing your height in 2.
#3. Follow The 7 Rules Of Healthy Eating
How to reduce your waistline and your weight in general? It all comes down to the number of calories consumed daily and the right balance of your macronutrients. Your diet should consist of 40%-50% of carbohydrates, 25%-35% of healthy fats, and 20%-30% of lean protein. Make sure to eat at least 25-30 grams of dietary fiber each day, limit your sugar intake to 40 g., and reduce your cholesterol intake to 300 mg.
How to achieve this delicate balance? Follow the seven main principles of a healthy diet:
- Fill around half of your plate with vegetables. Eat a variety of plant-based foods, and make sure that there is an entire rainbow of colors on your plate. Don’t forget your leafy greens like chard and spinach.
- Dedicate a quarter of your plate to healthy protein. Generally, eat small amounts of animal-based proteins (e.g., lean meats, eggs, or fish) and include various plant-based proteins.
- Cover around a quarter of your plate in whole-grains, beans, chickpeas, green peas, and legumes.
- Enjoy a small number of healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts. Avoid saturated and trans fats that can be found in deep-fried and highly processed foods.
- Limit your dairy product intake; goat’s milk and cheese are both okay. Substitute animal-based products to plant-based products.
- Radically reduce eating the processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, or saturated fat.
- Eat approximately 4-5 meals a day every 3-3,5 hours to avoid hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar).
#4. Pamper Your Feet
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of people with diabetes suffer from nerve damage, which usually affects the feet and legs.
It can be experienced as numbness, tingling, and can go as far as not feeling pain, heat, and cold in your feet. Even though it seems unimportant, but untreated sores, cuts, or blisters can become infected if left unnoticed.
If you are over 60 and have diabetes, follow these simple tips to ensure your feet are in tip-top shape:
- Keep an eye on the feet. Regularly check for any visible cuts, blisters, sores, or other unusual formation on your feet and make sure to address each issue. Consult with a doctor if necessary.
- Go for crispy clean. Wash your feet in warm water and carefully dry them. Gently trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. Focus on proper hygiene, and don’t forget to apply lotion to your feet.
- Look for the right fit. Your shoes and socks make a huge difference! Poorly fitting footwear can cut circulation and result in swollen and tired feet.