Aging entails a loss of muscle mass and strength, which in some cases impairs mobility, hinders walking or performance of day-to-day tasks, and exposes the elderly to the risk of falls and hospitalizations.
In clinical practice, handgrip measurement is the most widely used method to identify loss of overall muscular strength in older people. Values below 26 kg for men and 16 kg for women have for some time been considered an indication of risk-associated weakness, but these parameters are being revised.
Researchers at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, collaborating with colleagues at other institutions in the same state such as the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP), Nursing School (EE-USP) and School of Public Health (FSP-USP), as well as University College London (UCL), have suggested higher handgrip cutoff values than those typically used by physicians, physical therapists and nutritionists. A higher cutoff permits early diagnosis and intervention to avert clinical progression.
Eat less; move more; live longer. It’s never too late to start exercising according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Moderate-intensity exercise can help even extremely obese older adults improve their ability to perform common daily activities and remain independent.
Even this fat cat can benefit …
Findings from the National Institutes of Health-funded study are published in the July issue of the journal Obesity.
In the United States, obesity affects nearly 13 million adults age 65 and older. Both overall obesity and abdominal obesity are strongly associated with the development of major mobility disability (MMD), the inability to walk a quarter of a mile, according to the study’s lead author, Stephen Kritchevsky, Ph.D., director of the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Wake Forest Baptist.
Previous data on older populations had suggested that obesity may lessen the beneficial effects of physical activity on mobility. However, this research, which analyzed data from the multicenter Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study, showed that a structured physical activity program reduced the risk of MMD even in older adults with extreme obesity.
The latest update in Tufts University’s Health and Nutrition letter said, “Physical activity helps preserve mobility and motor skills as you age – and not just by keeping your muscles in shape. A new study suggests that activity also maintains mobility by protecting your brain. Even in people with signs of brain aging called white matter hyperintensities (WMH) associated with movement issues, being more active seemed to allow the brain to compensate.
“Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, says of the findings, “Although the study cannot determine causality because of its cross-sectional design, their results are consistent with a number of other studies that have shown that increased physical activity protects mobility.”
“BRAIN SPOTS AND MOBILITY: The study, published in the journal Neurology, subjected 167 people without dementia, ages 60 to 96, to a battery of tests. They had MRI scans of their brains, wore activity monitors for up to 11 full days, and underwent 11 motor-performance tests, such as grip strength, finger tapping and lower-body function. Continue reading →