Strong and Steady Wins the Race
If you want to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life, you'd better stay strong. That's the finding of Hawaiian researchers who examined 705 women, aged 55 to 93, of Japanese descent living in Hawaii.
The research team, led by Dr. James Davis of the Hawaii Osteoporosis Center in Honolulu, used seven different physical tests to determine why some women are more successful than others in maintaining their ability to perform activities of daily living, such as dressing and eating.
These tests included a grip strength test and the ''Get Up and Go Test,'' which measures the time it takes for participants to rise from a chair, walk a measured distance and return to a seated position in the chair.
The researchers, whose report was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, concluded that a simple grip-strength test was a better indicator of success in performing activities of daily living than quadriceps-strength tests. Elderly women with 22 percent greater-than-average grip strength were up to 30 percent less likely to have difficulty performing daily tasks.
''Hand strength may provide a good marker for frailty and may specifically benefit activities such as holding on during climbing, picking up objects and complex tasks such as feeding oneself,'' reported the study’s authors.
Lower body fat also appears to play a role in how well these women completed the seven tests: Women with a higher body mass index tended to score lower than their leaner counterparts.
''The results suggest that remaining strong, lean and physically active provided wide-ranging benefits for this population of older Japanese women.''
And it’s probably a good idea for the rest of us as well.
Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 46: 274-279
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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