28 Oct 2019
By Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT
I’m getting older, and chances are, so are you! But what should we be doing to keep our bodies from declining? Aging doesn’t have to equal deteriorating. However, we likely have to be a bit more mindful about how we treat our bodies as we age and what we do in order to make amends for how we treated our bodies in our 20s and 30’s!
I found a wonderful article that touched on this subject:
A journal article, Muscular Strength as a Predictor of All-Cause Mortality in an Apparently Healthy Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Data From Approximately 2 Million Men and Women gives us some answers - https://bit.ly/2UQkHiB
The aims of the present systematic review and meta-analysis were to determine the relationship between muscular strength and all-cause mortality risk in an apparently healthy population. This article looked at 38 studies including 1,907,580 participants, in which there was a total of 63,087 deaths. Higher levels of handgrip strength were associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Also, adults with higher levels of muscular strength, as assessed by knee extension strength test, had a 14% lower risk of death compared with adults with lower muscular strength.
So, what does this mean to us? Does longevity live in your forearms? (That was sarcasm… it made me laugh anyways!) No! What this means is that strength is a predictor of health and longevity. And strength is something you can control!
If you go back through some of the past Two Hands Physiotherapy Blogs, you’ll find that a number of them discuss strengthening in conjunction with treating joint pain, back pain, neck pain, etc. Strength is critical for all things!
In society today, we spend far too much time sitting, working on a computer, watching TV, driving to or from work, and so on. We’re less fit than our ancestors. But this is changeable! The great thing about strength is that you don’t need anything too fancy to add some strength moves into your daily routine.
• Heel raises as you watch TV.
• Squats before you ‘officially’ sit down to the computer.
• Push-ups on the kitchen counter as you are making dinner.
• When picking stuff up off the floor, try doing it one-legged (let your other leg lift off the ground for balance).
At the risk of being called out as a big nerd, I will admit to not only doing all of these things, but also bouncing on a mini-trampoline (remember the ‘Rebounder’ from the 90’s?) for 10 minutes while watching TV. I also set up a desk for my treadmill (just a shelf board that goes across the arms of the treadmill) so that I can walk while I check my e-mails in the morning.
Go to the gym if you like. That’s fantastic! But if that’s not your cup of tea, then if nothing more, add some strength training into your daily routine to help improve your longevity. Wishing you happy strong aging everyone!