Older Adults Who Strength Train May Live Longer

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There may be an association between strength training and longer life, according to an analysis of research data.

A team of researchers from Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Columbia University, led by Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, MD, MPH, examined data from the 1997-2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) linked to death certificate data through 2011 to study the mortality effects on older adults who meet strength training guidelines.

They suggest that older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying, according to a media release from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The NHIS collects overall health, disease and disability data of the US population from a nationally representative sampling of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 1997-2001 survey included more than 30,000 adults age 65 and older.

During the survey period, more than 9% of older adults reported strength training at least twice a week, per the release.

According to the survey, the researchers note that the older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46% lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41% lower odds of cardiac death and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer.

After adjusting the data for demographic variables, health behaviors, and health conditions, the researchers note that strength training’s effect on cardiac death and cancer were no longer statistically significant.

However, the data still pointed to a benefit in that after the researchers controlled for physical activity level, people who reported participating in strength training exercises appeared to see a greater mortality benefit than those who reported physical activity alone, the release continues.

“We need to identify more ways that we can help get people engaged in strength training so we can increase the number from just under 10 percent to a much higher percentage of our older adults who are engaged in these activities,” says Kraschnewski, assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, in the release.

The study was published recently in Preventive Medicine.

[Source(s): Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Science Daily]Accessed on May 2, 2106 from

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