Exercise is often recommended as a means of extending one’s life. There are many reasons for this. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, strengthens your heart, and even helps reduce stress and boost mental health. But the fact that exercise helps you build muscle and maintain strength adds years onto one’s life.
New research from the University of Michigan uncovered that strength level is a crucial factor for living a long life. The researchers suggest that those with lower muscle strength are 50 percent more likely to die earlier compared to stronger individuals.
Research lead Dr. Kate Duchowny explained, “Maintaining muscle strength throughout life — and especially in later life — is extremely important for longevity and aging independently.”
Grip strength, in particular, is an important measurement because it can be an indicator of overall health and longevity. Grip strength is measured by squeezing a tool called a dynamometer, which measures grip strength in kilograms.
The researchers analyzed data that was collected by the university’s Health and Retirement Study, which sampled 8,326 men and women over the age of 65. Grip strength of 39 kg for men or 22 kg for women was considered as “muscle weakness.”
Of the group, 46 percent were considered “weak.” This is a significant variant from the estimated of 10 to 13 percent of people being considered weak in the population. Duchowny stressed the importance of measuring grip strength by doctors as an indicator of health and age-related problems.
Duchowny added, “Having hand grip strength be an integral part of routine care would allow for earlier interventions, which could lead to increased longevity and independence for individuals. We believe our cut-points more accurately reflect the changing population trends of older Americans and that muscle weakness is a serious public health concern.”
Regardless of your age, working on improving your strength and muscles should still remain a priority, as it can aid in healthier aging. Being strong helps support your skeleton and reduces the risk of falls and other injuries, which can be more debilitating with age. Any little bit of weight training is a good start to start building up your strength. Strength training today can slowly add years to your life.
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