Milk apparently is not the only thing that does a body good. Now research has shown that strength training into older age can actually help to prolong life. It only takes a trip to the gym twice a week to reap the benefits of this form of body good exercise.
Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Columbia University discovered that older individuals who took part in strength-training only twice per week helped the individuals who were 65 years of age or older to live longer. The research sample they had for this specific group was small, and really only came in at 10 percent of the age group’s overall count, but the evidence obtained is priceless.
The data came to the researchers through surveys that spanned over 15 years of the participants lives, and from information found on their death certificates from the years 1997 to 2001. This research found that the older adults who took part in strength training twice a week had a 41% reduction in cardiac death, and a 19% lowered chance of being killed by cancer.
What Strength-Training Can Do
Exercise of any type can help to prolong a life, and strength-training provides plenty of perks. When it comes to older age our muscles are one of the first things that start to deteriorate. With strength training muscles stay healthy and strong. This is important as these muscles help provide cushion and balance to help keep older individuals safe from falls.
According to an article in Men’s Health titled “Lifting Weights As You Age Cuts Your Risk Of Early Death By 46%” falling accidents are said to be the number one reason why older individuals collect disability.
Working the muscles also helps to cut down on body fat, which is great for helping to reduce cholesterol levels, and even helps to slow or even stop diabetes that many older individuals acquire as they age. Strength-training can also help keep the bones strong, and we all know the importance of strong bones as we age. This type of exercise also has the ability to keep the heart pumping and blood flowing.
Oxygen is another benefit of exercising, which is something that our brains need always, but even more so as we age. When oxygen is flowing through the blood in our veins it helps to keep the brain alert and active. It unfortunately will not stop Alzheimer’s from occurring, but it could help to prevent it from happening early.
How to Get Started
At the time that this study took place only 10% of the older population took part in strength training. This is a small portion of individuals in this age group that would benefit from this type of exercise routine. Sharing the research with individuals of any age could help get more people in strength training programs. Many gyms are able to help guide older individuals in the type of training exercises that they should be able to do, and they are there in case any emergency occurs.
There are social groups that work together on exercise programs for the elderly, and some may already be in the area. If there are not any programs in the area where the individual lives a few short phone calls to places like the Community Action Agency or Senior Support Services may get the ball rolling so that a strength-training program can be started.
While exercise is beneficial to most individuals it should be advised that anyone who would like to start strength training should consult with their physician first. Exercise does help to improve the over-all quality of life, and strength-training does that in abundance.
Featured photo credit: Photograph Courtesy of Joseph Philipson via flickr.com