Strength training for longevity
Research and latest fascinating data
According to a study published in JAMA Network Open on October 17, 2022, adding strength training to your exercise routine may be essential for longevity, in addition to heart-pumping aerobic exercise. The study assessed physical activity data from over 115,000 individuals aged 65 and older who participated in the National Health Interview Survey. Researchers compared exercise information with deaths over almost eight years. Participants who incorporated strength training into their routine two to six times per week were less likely to die from any cause during the study period, regardless of their level of aerobic exercise. Individuals who completed at least two strength training sessions and 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week were 30% less likely to die during that period. Although the study was observational and did not provide conclusive evidence that strength training or aerobic exercise alone causes longer life, strength training activities like lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push-ups or sit-ups, or gardening were found to be beneficial.
Walking away from dementia
A new study published online on September 6, 2022, in JAMA Neurology suggests that walking around 10,000 steps a day may lower the risk of developing dementia by 51%. The researchers analysed the health and activity data of over 78,000 healthy individuals between the ages of 40 to 79, who wore fitness trackers 24/7 for at least three days, and then were monitored for seven years. The study found that individuals who walked approximately 9,800 steps per day (equivalent to roughly five miles) were 51% less likely to develop dementia than those who were not physically active.
Even walking as little as 3,800 steps per day (about two miles) lowered the risk of dementia by approximately 25%.
While the study was observational and could not prove conclusively that walking caused the lower dementia risk, incorporating more steps into one's daily routine is still recommended. Walking has many health benefits, including brain health, heart health, and protection against cancer. While there are currently no medications that comes close to a 50% reduction in risk !
AMD and supplements
A recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology confirms that the use of supplements can effectively slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness after the age of 50. The study found that omitting beta carotene and including lutein and zeaxanthin in eye supplements is the safest and most effective formula for slowing down the disease. The initial Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) conducted in 2001, which included vitamins C and E, copper, zinc, and beta carotene, reduced the risk of AMD progression by 25%. However, later studies linked beta carotene supplements to lung cancer in smokers. Therefore, a new AREDS trial was launched in 2006, which randomly assigned about 4,000 people to either the original AREDS supplements or a new formula (AREDS2) that included lutein and zeaxanthin instead of beta carotene. After 10 years of follow-up, the new formula without beta carotene was found to still reduce the risk of AMD progression and was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. In contrast, the original formula was found to correspond to a nearly doubled risk for lung cancer in former smokers.