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  Elders who lift weights live longer

Elders who lift weights live longer

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Published : Apr 22, 2016, 10:36 pm IST
Updated : Apr 22, 2016, 10:36 pm IST

Older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46 per cent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not, according to a survey of 30,000 people.

23WEIGHT2.jpg
 23WEIGHT2.jpg

Older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46 per cent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not, according to a survey of 30,000 people.

Many studies have previously found that older adults who are physically active have better quality of life and a lower risk of mortality. Regular exercise is associated with prevention of early death, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

But while the health rewards of physical activity and aerobic exercise are well established, less data have been collected on strength training, perhaps because strength-training guidelines are newer than recommendations for aerobic activity.

Although the American College of Sports Medicine first issued aerobic exercise guidelines decades ago, it was not until 2007 that the organisation and the American Heart Association released a joint guideline recommending that all adults strength train at least twice a week.

“This doesn’t mean that strength training wasn’t a part of what people had been doing for a long time as exercise, but it wasn’t until recently that it was solidified in this way as a recommendation,” says Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine.

Over the past decade, researchers have begun to demonstrate benefits of strength training for strength, muscle mass, and physical function, as well as for improvements in chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain, and obesity. Small studies have observed that greater amounts of muscle strength are associated with lower risk of death.

To look at the mortality effects on older adults who meet strength-training guidelines, researchers examined data from the 1997-2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) linked to death certificate data through 2011. The findings are published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

More than muscle During the survey period, more than 9 per cent of adults reported strength training at least twice a week. The researchers followed the respondents for 15 years through death certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics National Death Index. About a third of respondents had died by 2011. Older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46 per cent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower odds of dying from cancer.