With just one week of exercise, researchers have shown that sedentary elderly individuals at risk of acquiring diabetes can significantly improve the function of their insulin-making beta cells. Beta cells become less effective over time as people age, becoming less sensitive to the blood sugar-regulating effects of insulin. In this study, researchers found that in just one week of one-hour daily exercise, the 12 study participants, aged 60 and older, experienced an average increased insulin sensitivity of 53 percent and an average improved disposition index (a measure of beta cell function) of 28 percent. While this study was extremely short-term, it does show the powerful effects of exercise in the aging as well as the need for further longer-term studies. Sedentary elderly individuals should check with their primary health care provider, such as their local chiropractic doctor, prior to initiating any exercise regimen.
Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, February 2008.