Charles: The next exercise fad?

Increasing muscle strength is good, but increasing muscle power may be even better for enjoying a longer life, according to a recent study.

A study done in Brazil has concluded that it’s muscle power, as opposed to muscle strength, that can add years to life.

Confusing, isn’t it? It sounds like they’re the same thing, but they’re not.

A short example might be that having strength means you can pick up a certain weight. Power means you can pick it up quickly a number of times. It’s also called power training. Beware.

Researchers gathered participants between the ages of 41 and 85 and gave them tests involving upright rowing. They would stand in front of a machine, pick up the bar and pull it to chest level.

Just pulling it up was strength. Doing it quickly multiple times was power.

After determining how much weight each person could quickly pick up, they were divided into groups. At the end of six years, the scientists found that those who had the most muscle power had a lower risk of death.

It was the first study of its kind that linked longevity to muscle power. I have concerns about this study, especially because I fear it’s going to become the new exercise fad for seniors.

Even though the study participants were generally older, I see the possibility of pulling muscles and wrenching joints while attempting to lift weight too quickly.

There are other things we can do to increase our longevity. The Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension, or DASH, diet has been shown for years to cut the risk of stroke, kidney stones and more. And moderate exercise every day can help us avoid some serious health problems.

If you’re tempted to join this new exercise fad, run it by your doctor for advice. You might ask for other exercise ideas if you’re looking for something new.

© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.

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