Study: Strength training may help the elderly live longer

Study: Strength Training May Help The Elderly Live Longer
Study: Strength Training May Help The Elderly Live Longer

Adults who strength train at least twice a week may live longer than those who don't, according to researchers from Penn State and Columbia University.

This is the first study to demonstrate such an association. While the benefits of exercise in general have been known for quite some time, strength-training data gathered over an extended time period is still relatively new.

Researchers used the 1997-2001 National Health Interview Survey to track over 30,000 adults aged 65 and older over the span of 15 years. They determined that nine percent of respondents underwent strength-training at least two times per week.

According to a summary of the findings, "Older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46 percent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower odds of dying from cancer."

Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, a professor at Penn State College of Medicine, noted, "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."