By Live Dr - Mon Mar 09, 10:40 pm
Run to slow down ageing
Regular running can slow the ageing process, say a group of researchers, who added that the physical activity also reduces disability in later life.
The study, which has been published in Archives of Internal Medicine
, one of the JAMA
/Archives journals, showed that elderly joggers were half as likely to die prematurely from conditions like cancer than non-runners.
They also enjoyed a healthier life with fewer disabilities, the Stanford University Medical Center team found.
“Age-adjusted death rates have reached record lows and life expectancy has reached record highs in recent years, likely due to a combination of behavior and societal changes as well as improved medical and surgical therapies,” the researchers said.
“With the rise in life expectancy, it becomes necessary to focus on improving the quality of life and functional abilities as people reach older ages. Regular exercise, including running, may contribute to improved health among older adults,” they added.
For the study, Eliza F. Chakravarty, M.D., M.S., and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, Calif., surveyed 284 members of a nationwide running club and 156 healthy controls who were recruited from university faculty and staff.
The participants were aged 50 or above the study started in 1984.
They completed a mailed questionnaire annually through 2005, providing information on exercise frequency, body mass index and disability level.
At the beginning of the study, runners were younger, leaner and less likely to smoke than controls.
After 19 years, 81 runners (15 percent) had died compared with 144 controls (34 percent). Disability levels were lower in runners at all time points and increased in both groups over time, but less so in runners.
At the end of the 21-year follow-up, in terms of disability, “the higher levels among controls translate into important differences in overall daily functional limitations,” the researchers said.
“Disability and survival curves continued to diverge between groups after the 21-year follow-up as participants approached their ninth decade of life,” they added.
Regular exercise could reduce disability and death risk by increasing cardiovascular fitness, improving aerobic capacity, increased bone mass, lower levels of inflammatory markers, improved response to vaccinations and improved thinking, learning and memory functions, the scientists said.
Fat folks could be healthy too!
Doctors keep suggesting that it’s unhealthy to be overweight. And, for many people, that’s true. But two new studies show that it’s the location of the fat that matters. You can be normal weight and be just as bad off as old tubby next door.
In the first study, German researchers analyzed 314 people, ages 18 to 69, and divided them into four groups: normal weight, overweight, obese but still sensitive to insulin, and obese with insulin resistance.
People in the overweight and obese groups had more total body and visceral fat (abdominal fat around the organs) than those with normal weight.
But obese people with insulin resistance had more fat within their skeletal muscles and their livers than obese people without insulin resistance.
Obese people with insulin resistance also had thicker walls in the carotid arteries, an early sign of narrowing of the arteries — a condition called atherosclerosis.
Insulin sensitivity and artery wall thickness were the same in obese people without insulin resistance and in normal-weight people.
“In conclusion, we provide evidence that a metabolically benign obesity can be identified and that it may protect from insulin resistance and atherosclerosis,” the authors said.
“Furthermore, our data suggest that ectopic [misplaced] fat accumulation in the liver may be more important than visceral fat in the determination of such a beneficial phenotype in obesity,” they added.
In a second study, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, assessed body weight and cardiometabolic abnormalities (including high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol) in 5,440 individuals participating in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys between 1999 and 2004.
Participants were considered metabolically healthy if they had none or one abnormality and metabolically abnormal if they had two or more abnormalities.
“Among U.S. adults 20 years and older, 23.5 percent (approximately 16.3 million adults) of normal-weight adults were metabolically abnormal, whereas 51.3 percent (approximately 35.9 million adults) of overweight adults and 31.7 percent (approximately 19.5 million adults) of obese adults were metabolically healthy,” the authors write.
Normal-weight individuals with metabolic abnormalities tended to be older, less physically active and have larger waists than healthy normal-weight individuals.
Obese individuals with no metabolic abnormalities were more likely to be younger, black, more physically active and have smaller waists than those with metabolic risk factors.
“These data show that a considerable proportion of overweight and obese U.S. adults are metabolically healthy, whereas a considerable proportion of normal-weight adults express a clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities,” the authors said.
The studies are published in the August 11/25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.