3 Studies That Show Strength is Important for Longevity

3 Studies That Show Strength is Important for Longevity

(Last Updated On: June 14, 2020)

Strength Training For Longevity

Strength training to stay strong and preserve muscle mass is an essential part of any fitness program. No matter your age, you need it! Too often, people devote too much time to aerobic exercise and ignore working their bodies against resistance. Doing so improves strength and muscle mass, but there’s evidence that being strong can help you live longer too. Not convinced? Here are some studies that might convince you.

Study: Stronger Quads Linked to Lower Mortality

How strong are your quads? It matters. The squats and leg extensions you do when you train could pay off with more years of life and greater functionality too. A study carried out by researchers at the Kitasato University Hospital in Japan link quad strength with reduced mortality from heart disease and other causes.

For the study, the researchers measured the quad strength of 1,314 older men. Then, they followed them for 5 years to see what their health outcomes would. Results? The investigators found that men who had the strongest quads had a 75% lower risk of mortality from all causes relative to those with the weakest quads. In addition, guys with the strongest quads had an 88% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another 2006 study, along the same lines, found that knee extension strength, which is correlated with quad strength, but not muscle mass in the quads was linked with mortality. Subjects with stronger quads had lower mortality than those at the low end of quad strength while muscle mass showed no correlation. Therefore, muscle quality, as measured by strength, may be more important than the quantity of muscle.

Study: Strong Grip Linked with Longevity

Can you crush a can with your hands? If so, you have a strong grip and that could be a marker for longevity. Researchers use a dynamometer to measure handgrip strength. That’s what researchers used in a study carried out by researchers in Korea. They looked at the charts of 9393 Korean adults over the age of 45 as part of another 8-year study. After dividing the individuals into quartiles based on their handgrip strength, they compared it to their all-cause mortality.

The results? They found a direct correlation between handgrip strength and all-cause mortality among these adults. Another study also correlated weaker grip strength with deaths from causes such as cardiovascular disease along with all-cause mortality. This was true in both men and women of all age groups.

As Harvard Health points out, handgrip strength, as measured by a dynamometer, could be a marker of a person’s risk of developing a stroke or heart attack. Another study of 140,000 individuals from 17 countries found that every 11-pound drop in grip strength over the 4-year study was linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and all-cause mortality.

Study: Ability to Rise from a Sitting Position with No Hands as a Marker of Mortality

Another measure of lower body strength, power, and balance is the ability to stand from a sitting position without the help of a hand or knee. Studies show that people who can do this with little or no support from their knees or hands have a lower risk of early mortality. To perform this task takes strength, power, and a good sense of balance. These traits are consistent with a healthy, well-functioning neurological, and musculoskeletal system.

In one study, researchers asked 2,000 people between the ages of 51 and 80 to do the sit-stand test. They instructed the participants to sit down on the floor without using their hands or knees. The ability to do so was worth 5 points. Then, they asked them to stand up without placing a knee or foot on the ground for support. If they could stand without using either, they got an additional 5 points. But each time they placed a hand or knee on the floor, they lost a point. What did the study show? Those with scores of 8 to 10 had the lowest mortality while those with a score of 0 to 3 had mortality rates that were 5-fold to 6 fold higher.

Strength Training Improves Healthspan Too

These studies suggest that strength is important for longevity, but being strong can also improve your healthspan, the years you spend active and healthy. Ultimately, that’s what matters most! We all want to avoid spending the last years of our life in a nursing home. The United States doesn’t do well in the healthspan department. Too many people enter the twilight years with chronic health problems that make them less functional.

Although the average lifespan in the United States hovers around 79 years, healthspan is shorter. According to the World Health Organization, the average health span is only around 63 years of age, meaning Americans spend 20% of their lives being unhealthy. Lifestyle can change these grim statistics and staying strong and limiting muscle loss is one way to do that.

All movement is important! Aerobic exercise helps protect your heart and lower the risk of chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. With exercise, you have a powerful tool at your disposal for maximizing both lifespan and healthspan.

The Bottom Line

Strength training is important for muscle and bone health, but it may help you live longer and live better too. Make it a priority to maximize your lifespan and your healthspan.

 

 References:

  • The American Journal of Medicine. 128: 1212-1219. 2015.
  • J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006 Jan;61(1):72-7.
  • Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar; 16(5): 740. Published online 2019 Mar 1. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16050740.
  • Strand BH, Cooper R, Bergland A, et al The association of grip strength from midlife onwards with all-cause and cause-specific mortality over 17 years of follow-up in the Tromsø Study J Epidemiol Community Health 2016;70:1214-1221.
  • Harvard Health Publishing. “Grip strength may provide clues to heart health”
  • The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 61, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 72–77, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/61.1.72.
  • The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 61, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 72–77, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/61.1.72.
  • com. “Test of Sitting and Standing Predicts Mortality”

 

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5 thoughts on “3 Studies That Show Strength is Important for Longevity

  1. I am 76 yoa, I enjoy getting Cathy dot com news updates. I have the Strong Body Stack Sets, Upper and Lower. An issue I do have is that approximately
    four years ago I had back surgery. When I do leg exercises my back gets sore, do I have to just get used to it. But I really enjoy the exercises. My doctors all say get up the work I look goo for my age. Thank you scathe.

  2. Hi. Is there any status update on Perfect 30? I check weekly emails and see nothing.

    I’ve prepaid already and just waiting for word on release date or even some kind of update

    Thanks.

  3. Yes you are right strength is more important for longevity. But what do you advise about nutrition ? as strength needs vitamin and nutrition as well.

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