The American Diabetes Association says 30 million Americans have diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It can affect every decision, including what to eat, and requires steady attention and management. A person’s weight is a major factor. Exercise and proper eating are important in preventing and managing diabetes.

The ADA says we can take steps to prevent type 2, the most common form. “Stay at a healthy weight, eat well and be active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.”

The ADA defines type 2 diabetes as “characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body's inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people.”

Among Americans age 65 and older, 25.2 percent or 12 million people have diabetes, the ADA says. (Click here to see the National Diabetes Statistics Report.)

If you think you might be at risk, talk to your doctor. If you have been diagnosed, be sure to know about proper eating and exercising and take care of yourself every day.

How exercise helps

Physical activity:

· Helps lower blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides

· Lowers risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke

· Relieves stress

· Strengthens the heart, muscles and bones

· Improves blood circulation and tones muscles

· Improves flexibility

And no, you’re not too old to start.

“Even if you've never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day,” the ADA says. “Even if your activities aren't strenuous, you'll still get health benefits.”

Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for it, the ADA says. “Get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy, from gardening to playing tennis to walking with friends.”


Every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month puts a spotlight on the disease that afflicts millions of women.

Rickye Lamm is among those who want to make sure exercise is always included in the conversation around prevention, treatment, recovery and support.

Rickye, 67, was diagnosed in 2001 and had operations on both sides a week apart, then underwent radiation treatment.

“Exercise really helped with my stress and state of mind,” says Rickye, who now works at a fitness studio. “I feel better now physically and mentally than I did in my 40s.”

Helping other women go through the disease, she’s even more of a believer: “If you’re physically fit, you recover from things better.”

Rickye is far from alone in making the connection between exercise and fighting cancer.

Leading Risk Factors

In the United States, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life, the National Breast Cancer Foundation says. A diagnosis is made every two minutes.

Globally, breast cancer is the No. 1 cancer among women, the World Health Organization says.

Men can get it, too, but in far lower numbers. Aside from gender, age is the top risk factor. Two-thirds of invasive breast cancers occur after age 55, says Family history, race, genetics and more factors also play a risk.

A healthy lifestyle should include exercise – which also helps limit other factors like obesity and blood pressure, before and after cancer. It can regulate hormone levels, strengthen the immune system and more, experts say.

“People are much more likely to survive cancer who exercise,” says Andrea Leonard, president and founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI). “That’s just a fact. There is no argument for not exercising.”

She stresses that each patient is different – each cancer, each treatment, each surgery, each recovery.

After treatment, exercise helps restore self-esteem and a sense of control, which cancer strips from patients, she says.

“Teaching them to regain control empowers them, increases esteem and confidence, and takes them from victim to survivor,” she says.

Trying to stay healthy

Sally O’Loughlin, 75, knows all of that first hand, after bouts with leukemia and then breast cancer.

Sally works out with weights twice a week with a trainer. She also practices yoga and Pilates, walks, skis and eats right.

Sally says it’s the lifestyle she has adopted to stay as strong as possible and do what she can to prevent a recurrence. Her health is excellent now, with no sign of cancer.

“Exercise matters incredibly” after you’ve had cancer, she says. “It helps to keep stress levels down and makes me feel like I’m doing something positive and healthy.

“For someone my age, I’m incredibly fit and strong and I like that. I still go in for checkups every six months, and my doctor calls me his ‘rock star,’” Sally says. “That’s a nice thing to have your doctor tell you.”

For more information about breast cancer, visit The National Breast Cancer Foundation.


Updated: Oct 19, 2019

We need resistance training later in life. Period. That means lifting weights – or using resistance bands or body weight – to grow and maintain muscle mass.

Resistance training lowers blood pressure, bad cholesterol and inflammation.

Why? Not to look like a bodybuilder. (That’s super-hard and takes a long, long time.) It’s merely the fact that human beings lose muscle mass as we age, and being strong is key to healthy aging.

There are so many reasons why it’s not just good for us after 50, but essential. We’ve written about this before, and we could talk about it all day. Sometimes, we do! It’s that important.

Here are seven more of the countless reasons why “older” people should be lifting weights.

1. It is good for cardiovascular health. Resistance training lowers blood pressure, bad cholesterol and inflammation.

2. Resistance training relieves anxiety and tension.

3. It helps improve our self-esteem and keeps us from thinking we’re weak.

4. It can improve memory and mild cognitive impairment.

5. Strength training is effective at treating the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. It reduces fasting glucose levels and improves overall glycemic control.

6. Weightlifting helps us recover from hip fractures.

7. It boosts our metabolism, in addition to burning fat and building muscle. So we’re also using more calories when we’re resting and sleeping.

Still not convinced? Contact us at, and we’ll give you seven more. At least. And if you’d like to read more about it, this article is a great resource: a thoroughly researched list of 78 Science Backed Benefits of Weightlifting for Seniors.