Older adults with type-2 diabetes can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke after just three months of physical activity, a new study concludes.
Dr. Kenneth Madden, a geriatric specialist at the University of British Columbia, found that individuals between the ages of 65 and 83 with type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol who increase their activity can improve the elasticity in their arteries, thereby lessening the risk of heart failure and stroke.
"The theory is that aerobic activity makes your arteries less stiff and makes artery walls more elastic," said Madden. "There was an impressive drop in arterial stiffness [of participants] after just three months of exercise. In that time we saw a 15 to 20 percent reduction."
The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that older adults—after consultation with a physician—get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Foundation spokeswoman Beth Abramson states that seniors should choose activities that they enjoy, such as yoga or tai chi.
Tai chi can reduce anxiety and depression, improve balance, flexibility and muscle strength as well as lower blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic reports.