Staying physically active is key to aging well for those over 50 and increasing their chances of living longer, according to a new study from Trinity College Dublin.
Researchers from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (Tilda) created a ‘mortality risk index’ – a tool to identify those at high risk of mortality who could benefit from additional care and support.
They found that difficulty walking 100m and difficulty lifting 10 pounds were associated with an increased risk of death over the following four years.
dr Peter May, Research Assistant Professor at Tilda, said: “The risk of mortality naturally increases throughout life and partly due to factors beyond our control. Older age, male gender, history of smoking, a prior heart attack, and a prior diagnosis of cancer were among the factors associated with an increased risk of death.
“But the relationship between functional difficulties and mortality reported here was identified after controlling for such factors.
“The index can help researchers and clinicians to pre-identify people at increasing risk of death who may need additional care and support.”
Soraya Matthews, lead author of the study and Research Associate in Health Policy and Management at Trinity, added: “While mortality risk naturally increases with age, that’s not all. There are some risk factors that we cannot do much about, such as age, gender and medical history.
“But other factors may be modifiable, particularly difficulty walking, standing up and lifting.
“For older people who are active, it is important to maintain that activity. For people who are not, difficulties are often reversible with appropriate support. And of course, if you are a smoker, quitting at any age is beneficial.
“We often assume that people in other countries are very different from us, but our findings are similar to those observed in similar studies in the United States and England.”
The study was published in the BMC geriatrics Diary.
Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Tilda’s principal investigator, added: “It is the first time such an index has been developed using such a detailed dataset in Ireland.
“It improves our ability to identify those at high risk of mortality who may need additional support.
“Moreover, it underscores the importance of staying active and building muscle strength for as long as possible in order to age as well as possible.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/fitness/over-50-and-want-to-live-a-long-life-exercise-more-say-researchers-41832093.html Over 50 and want to live a long life? Move more, researchers say