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Research Shows Strength Training Increases Longevity

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

Adding twice-weekly strength training to your workout may help you live longer, or so says a study recently read by Westport elder care professionals. It has long been recognized that aerobic activity provides numerous health benefits including preventing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death; however, there was limited evidence regarding the benefits of strength training on longevity.

In a recent study published in Preventative Medicine, researchers examined the mortality rates of more than 30,000 older adults over a 15-year period. Of that group, approximately nine percent reported engaging in strength training activities at least twice a week. The results demonstrated that individuals who participated in strength training had the expected improvements in terms of muscle mass, strength, and physical function. They also had improvements in terms chronic conditions, including:

  • A 41 percent reduction in the risk of cardiac death
  • A 19 percent decrease in the risk of dying from cancer
  • A 46 percent lower chance of death from any cause

It is important to note that study participants who strength trained tended to be slightly younger, married, Caucasian, and higher educated. They were also more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as abstaining from smoking and alcohol, getting regular physical exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Even after the study results were adjusted for variables such as demographics, health conditions, and health behaviors, there was still a statistically significant benefit on overall mortality. There were also benefits in terms of cancer and cardiovascular conditions, although those numbers were no longer statistically significant. Individuals who strength trained in addition to aerobic activity had a greater mortality benefit than those who engaged in aerobic activity alone.

According to Dr. Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, assistant professor at Penn State College of Medicine, we need to look for more ways to get seniors interested and engaged in strength training. Even though only a small fraction of seniors strength train, the evidence is clear that the benefits go far beyond building strength and function.

Interested in learning more about keeping seniors healthy and happy in their golden year? We can help. While we are known for our Alzheimer’s and dementia care Westport families trust, we also offer flexible hourly care plans that can include everything from cooking and cleaning to running errands and mobility support. Give us a call today at 203-955-1915 and schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more.