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Nov 28

Hey, your legs are sore after you hit up your go-to spin class—that totally counts as strength training, right? The authors of this highly interesting paper make three important conclusions: The association between grip strength and mortality does not provide proof that strength training improves health and longevity. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that strength training itself increases longevity. “Strength Training Helps Older Adults Live Longer”, Science Daily. From a health perspective, this is the most dangerous form since it’s linked with a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. For years, these people wouldn’t consider lifting weights. Those who DID enjoyed a surprising benefit – a lower risk of dying over the course of the study. That’s why movement matters. 2009 May;18(5):1468-76. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-1075. Too many people make strength training a secondary focus when they work out. Men and women with greater grip strength had lower risks of mortality, independent of adiposity. Most people don’t think of strength training as prolonging life – but research suggests that it does. However, substantial evidence suggests that greater aerobic fitness can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and death associated with obesity. It is usually performed by a Jamar hydraulic dynamometer which can measure isometric grip force with excellent reliability and reproducibility (6). Grip strength is a simple and inexpensive measure of overall muscular strength. And, is there an easy way to assess or measure our physical condition? This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Science Daily. For women, muscle loss accelerates after menopause, but the process actually begins after the age of 30. Eh, not so much. Learn how your comment data is processed. The mortality risk was highest for men and women with the lowest grip strength and the highest obesity measures. There is evidence that skeletal muscle in many ways acts as an endocrine organ. In 1953, British researchers discovered that drivers of London’s double-decker buses were more likely to suffer a deadly heart attack than the more physically active conductors (1). In contrast, adiposity measures had an inconstant association with mortality, although severe obesity (BMI>35) and abdominal obesity were strong predictors of mortality, independent of grip strength. Since then it has repeatedly been shown that regular physical exercise is associated with a lower risk of premature death, coronary heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. Although excess adiposity per se presents a substantial risk of mortality, the risk associated with excess adiposity was reduced, although not completely eliminated, through greater grip strength. A number of studies show cancer rates and cancer mortality are higher in people who are obese or have a high body fat percentage. Unfortunately, most adults, particularly older adults, as this study showed, don’t strength train. If you’re doing hours of cardio for heart health and rarely picking up a weight, it might be time to change. And according to research, it might be time to stop skimping on a legit leg day, because anaerobic exercise (a.k.a. Your time might be better spent dividing your time between cardio and strength training. When they separated out the effects of aerobic exercise, strength training still had a positive impact on mortality. If It Doesn't Challenge You It Doesn't Change You. After menopause is when the dreaded phenomenon of sarcopenia, loss of muscle tissue and increase in body fat sets in. Even after the researchers controlled for healthy lifestyle habits and diet, mortality was lower. It must be consistent. The Fountain of Youth is Made of Iron - the Link Between Strength and Longevity. A recent study tested the association between grip strength, obesity, and mortality (12). This may reduce the risk of injuries from falls which often provide serious health threats to elderly individuals. If you’re just beginning to incorporate strength training for seniors into your exercise regimen, there are a few things you should know. As you age, cells respond less to the insulin your pancreas produces. However, strength training may have wider implications for general health than previously thought. Strength training also improves blood sugar control in diabetics. Research shows as little as 16 weeks of strength training improves markers of insulin sensitivity. One possible way strength training may protect against an early death is by improving insulin sensitivity. This review showed muscle strength in men was inversely related to mortality. The average 30-year-old will lose about a quarter of his or her muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. For strength training at the gym most people just think about the amount of weight being lifted and the number of repetitions without paying attention to the speed of execution. Reprinted from THE LONGEVITY DIET by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Another way strength training helps protect against an early death is by helping you stay functional and less prone to injury as you age. 2007; 4(1): 19-27. Strength training also improves blood sugar control in diabetics. Aim for 3 – 5 training days per week for optimal growth. Over a median follow-up of four years, low grip strength was associated with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, non-cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke. The findings from the PURE study certainly suggest that skeletal muscle function is an important component of health, aging, and longevity. However, several questions remain. How Does Strength Training Reduce Mortality and Increase Longevity? Researchers followed the participants for 15 years to determine what their health outcomes would be. These studies laid the foundation for the hypothesis that men in physically active jobs were at lower risk of heart disease than men in physically inactive jobs. Maybe not, since the association persisted even after they factored in body fat. All people (athletes and non-athletes) need to train their physical qualities to live with quality and independently. What type of exercise is most likely to improve our health? Fourteen epidemiological studies fulfilled the study criteria, and all reported that an increased level of muscular strength was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality. Hence, older adults who perform strength training not only improve their physical condition, but their survival rate is improved as well. Furthermore, resistance training increases bone mass and mineral density and lowers the risk of osteoporosis which is a global public health problem. There may be several reasons why strength training and grip strength are associated with longevity. After age 30, adults lose 3-8% of their muscle mass per decade. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recognized physical inactivity as one of the leading global risk factors for morbidity and premature mortality (3). Walking is certainly better than being sedentary but, as you know, it does little to build strength. You won’t get the results you’re looking for unless you make strength training a regular part of your life. There would be a high risk of crossover between the groups. Visceral fat is a marker for poor metabolic health and a higher risk of health problems. We also know that strength training reduces one of the most common downsides of aging, loss of strength and muscle tissue, a pitfall that ultimately leads to frailty. As you can see, strength training is important at all ages and may even lower your risk of dying early. Interestingly, obese individuals with greater grip strength had a lower or similar mortality risks compared with nonobese people with lower grip strength. Should we walk, jog, lift weights or all of those? It’s no secret that you lose muscle and strength at a more rapid pace after the age of 50.

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