Muscular strength and fast walking support the psyche and reduce the risk of death of the elderly

Scientists at Deakin University (Australia) have found that physical strength is more important than muscle mass to maintain cognitive health in old age. Experts also found that fast walking is an effective way to prevent neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. Another major study was conducted at Cambridge University. The scientists found out how to halve the risk of dying in the next three years by using daily walking. 

The study carried out by Australian scientists, involved about three hundred men over 60 years of age. All subjects were measured in terms of muscle mass. Muscle strength (grip strength) was measured using a dynamometer. Walking speed was also assessed. For cognitive (mental) health testing, a computer program was used to evaluate psychomotor skills, memory, attention, and visual learning ability. 

Specialists found a significant correlation between the cognitive ability of older people and the grip strength. Also, the higher the walking speed of the participants, the more they scored points when testing psychomotor function. At the same time, muscle volume did not affect the subjects' mental health in any way. 

Participants in the Cambridge study were over 96,000 people, the mean age of whom was 62 years. During three years of observation, experts assessed the level of physical activity of the subjects. During this time, 732 deaths were recorded among the participants. The experts found a connection between the amount of energy a person spends daily, the exercise intensity, and the risk of dying in the next three years. 

It turned out that people who spend 20 kJ/kg daily on physical activity are one-third less likely to die in the next three years than those who spend 15 kJ/kg per day. However, it is important that at least 10% of physical activity can be characterized as moderately intense. In order to increase your chances of survival the next year, a 35-minute walk with a 2-minute acceleration at the end of the promenade is sufficient daily. 

To double your chances of survival compared to people spending 15 kJ/kg per day, you need to spend 30 kJ/kg, of which 30% should be spent on medium intensity. To implement this scenario, it is necessary to spend about one and a half hours of walking a day: an hour - at a calm pace, and 35 minutes - brisk walk. 

Aug. 20, 2020, 10:41 a.m.

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