The secret to a longer life might be lifting. According to a new study from Penn State College of Medicine strength training reduces your risk for premature death.
Other, related research has linked physical activity with maintaining both a body and mind that functions more like a young person’s. Plus, some science has shown that when it comes to premature death, a lack of exercise may put you more at risk than being obese.
In the Penn State study researchers surveyed people age 65 or older about their exercise habits and then tracked them for 15 years. Nearly a third of the study participants died during that period.
Less than 10 percent of the subject’s strength trained, but those select few were 46 percent less likely to die during the study than others who were tracked during this period.
Logic might dictate that older study participants who train with weights must be in better health to begin with. But even after adjusting for body mass, chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and habits like activity, drinking, and smoking, lifting was still linked to a 19 percent reduced risk of death.
Strength training can keep you active and independent in your golden years, says study author Jennifer Kraschnewski, M.D. Not only does it strengthen your muscles, resulting in better stamina and balance, but it also increases your bone density.
Penn State isn’t alone in recommending weight training as one of the factors contributing to increased longevity.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the MedUni Vienna help to support thr American findings.
According to Science Daily, the goal of the European study was to provide information that supported the goal of improving the fitness levels and quality of life for older people with inadequate nutrition.
According to the study’s authors, about ten percent of Austrians over the age of 65 are “frail” and another 40 percent are in the initial stages of “frailty.”
What the results of the study found is that regular strength training can increase strength in older adults and as a result, enables them to live more independently.
We know that muscle mass decreases from the age of 30. Without training, around 50 per cent of muscle mass has deteriorated by the age of 80.
Thomas Dorner of the MedUni Vienna’s Centre for Public Health told Science Daily.
In this study, the intervention group boosted their maximum hand strength by three kilograms. That is an increase of almost 20 percent on the initial measurements.
In other words, exercise is essential to good health, and especially as we age. Later in life, bone and muscle mass tends to decrease, flexibility starts to diminish and balance and agility are sometimes compromised.
The researchers also found that strength training led to a significant increase in the participant’s overall physical activity levels, mobility, quality of life and cognitive functions – as well as helping maintain bone density.
The results of both studies (American and European) indicate that strength training is an important aspect of exercise all through life and especially as we get older. So if you’re over 30 it’s time to hit the gym.