Human beings are living longer than ever, with the number of people aged over 60 expected to reach 1.4 billion worldwide by 2030, and the number of 100-year-olds expected to increase 10-fold by 2050. What should be good news, of course, can quickly become a cause of concern, if the quality of life of older people is compromised by poor health and a loss of independence. Seniors should aim to combine a healthy diet (comprising lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts) with anti-ageing supplements and, research indicates, regular workouts with weights.
Cardio is Not the Be-All, End-All
To enjoy health in our older years, it is particularly important to stay at a healthy weight, since obesity is linked to a host of serious and expensive health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and Type II diabetes. These conditions can lower our lifespan, and reduce our quality of life even if we do live to a ripe old age. One study, published in November, 2017 in the journal Obesity, found that older adults trying to slim down, should opt for weight training over cardio, to preserve valuable lean muscles that can be lost in aerobic workouts. The lead author of the study, Kristen Beavers, noted, “A lot of older adults will walk as their exercise of choice, but this research shows that if you’re worried about losing muscle, weight training can be the better option.”
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In the study, researchers observed 249 overweight/obese adults in their 60s over an 18-month period. They found that a calorie-controlled diet combined with a gym workout using machine weights, resulted in less muscle loss, but significant fat loss, compared to a low-calorie diet plus cardio (walking), or a low-calorie diet alone. Researchers were surprised to note that cardio workouts can actually lead adults to lose more muscle, than they do when they diet alone.
Strength Exercise to Increase Longevity
Another study carried out in November, 2017, published in the Journal of Epidemiology, found that participating in strength-promoting exercise reduces the general death rate by 23% and death by cancer, by 31%. The study focused on strength exercises using bodyweight exercise, though the same effects can be obtained using weights.
If you are nearing your 60s and you are keen to look and feel as young on the outside as you do on the inside, by no means should you stop walking or taking part in your favorite aerobic activity, since exercise in all forms has been found to benefit health in countless ways. However, if keeping cancer, heart disease and obesity at bay are a concern, by all means give weights and strength training the importance they deserve in your daily workout.
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