October 24, 2010

Get stronger, live longer

There's an article over at BrainBlogger that has reaffirmed something I've suspected for quite some time now: Physical strength predicts mortality. Makes sense when you think about it. Building up physical strength and pocketing it for our later years seems like a smart life extension strategy—and clinical research is now indicating that this idea works.

Frailty inexorably leads to increased vulnerability, decreased tolerance for internal and external stressors, and an inability to maintain physiologic and psychosocial equilibrium. And as s a clinical syndrome, frailty is characterized by low physical activity, low muscle strength, increased fatigue, slowness of gait, and weight loss, and it is associated with adverse health outcomes, including dependency, disability, hospitalization, institutionalization, and mortality. Weaker elderly people experience a significantly higher risk of falls, decreased mobility, disability, hospitalization, and death.

So the message is clear: get going on your strength work and get going now—and the younger you start, the better. Cognitive and physical markers of physical performance and frailty are evident as early as childhood. Research shows that men and women with the highest cognitive performance and slowest memory decline throughout life perform better on tests of standing balance and chair rising speed. Additionally, children who performed better at milestone attainment in childhood, cognitive ability, and motor coordination showed better physical performance and muscular strength later in life.

It would appear, therefore, that healthy living in later life begins in childhood.

1 comment:

Christian Henrik Nesheim said...

The Calorie Restriction Society has been gaining momentum recently with their one-meal-a-day scheme to live past a hundred. Calorie restriction has shown some convincing effectiveness in terms of life extension in mice, rats, flies etc. Surely the desire build muscle conflicts with that of restricting calories. Right?