2. Even Short Inactivity Periods

Can Hasten Diabetes Onset in Elderly

A new study published in The Journals of Gerontology shows that just 2 weeks of physical inactivity can trigger diabetes in seniors with pre-diabetes.

As we get older, physical activity becomes all the more important to have a healthy life. For instance, aerobic activity and muscle training have been shown to improve the psychological well-being of elderly people.

Now, to check the harmful effects if any of short duration inactivity a new research delves into the metabolic effects of physical inactivity for seniors. A team of scientists led by Chris Mcglory — a Diabetes Canada Research Fellow in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada investigated the effects of 2 weeks of inactivity on elderly adults at risk of diabetes.

Mcglory and colleagues examined a group of seniors aged between 60 and 85 who had already been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The researchers asked the study participants to restrict their daily number of steps to fewer than 1,000 for a period of 2 weeks. No more than 1,000 steps per day is the equivalent of being housebound. During the study period, the researchers monitored the physical activity of the seniors using pedometers and other specialized devices. Also, blood sugar was monitored. The research revealed that only days after the study started, the participants' skeletal muscle mass and strength decreased significantly.

Importantly, the researchers also noted that people who had pre-diabetes quickly displayed signs of full-blown type 2 diabetes, such as insulin resistance. Additionally, merely returning to a healthy exercise regimen for another 2 weeks was not enough to offset the harmful effects of inactivity, the researchers found.

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