Older adults with type 2 diabetes can benefit from the effects of physical activity in just three months, according to a recent study.

Discussing how exercise can help improve artery elasticity to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr Kenneth Madden, a geriatric specialist at the University of British Columbia, said ‘aerobic activity makes your arteries less stiff and makes artery walls more elastic’.

Adults between the ages of 65 to 83 with controlled type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol were divided into two groups, receiving either three months of vigorous physical activity on treadmills and indoor cycles (one hour, three times per week), or no aerobic activity at all.

The exercising group was classified as sedentary at the outset of the study, but subjects gradually increased their fitness levels until they were working at 70 per cent of their maximum hear rate.

A significant improvement was seen in the elasticity of the arteries of the active group compared to the non-exercise group; ‘There was an impressive drop in arterial stiffness after just three months of exercise. In that time we saw a 15 to 20 per cent reduction’ said Madden.

Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada