Editor’s Note: Get advice from your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
If you are a man or woman approaching 50, look down the middle. If you’re like most people, you might have to lean a little to see your feet. Yes, it’s the dreaded midriff bulge – that growing waistline that can creep in as you age, just like a receding hairline or extra wrinkles.
It’s hard to resist, almost like a rite of passage, just part of the life cycle, right? But a new study finds that allowing your middle to expand will do more than send you shopping for the next size up in britches — it can also hurt your physical abilities later on.
The study, which followed 4,509 people aged 45 years or older in Norway for over twenty years, found participants who had a high or moderately high waist circumference at the beginning of the study were 57% more likely to be “frail” than those with a normal waistline.
But frailty is not that “tottering” old man bent over the cane that comes to mind. However, frailty includes poor grip strength, slower walking speed, general fatigue, unintentional weight loss and low physical activity.
Those who were obese at the start of the study, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above, were also 2.5 more likely to be frail than those with a normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9), according to the published study. January 23, 2023, in the journal BMJ Open.
There are several reasons, according to the study authors. Obesity leads to an increase in inflammation in fat cells, which can damage muscle fibers “resulting in reduced muscle strength and function,” study author Shreeshti Uchai, doctoral researcher in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Oslo in Tromsø, Norway, and she. colleague wrote.
The results highlight the need to stay above the overall weight and increase in waist circumference, and to expand the definition of frailty, the authors concluded.
“In a context where the population is rapidly aging and the obesity epidemic is on the rise, growing evidence recognizes subgroups of ‘fat and frail’ older individuals rather than viewing frailty as a wasting disorder,” they wrote.
Exercise can help fight the infirmities of aging. Adults should do muscle-strengthening exercises involving all major muscle groups at least two or more days per week, in addition to at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. ‘ Physical activity guidelines for America.
Losing body fat and building lean muscle can help improve balance and posture, Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of Atria New York City and professor of clinical medicine at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, told CNN earlier.
To stay strong and healthy, try doing aerobic and strength training.
They “seem to work together and help each other to move to better results,” said Dr. William Roberts, professor in the department of family medicine and public health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “A program of strength and balanced aerobic activity is probably best and may be more similar to the activities of our ancestors, which helped determine our current gene set.”
To begin strength training, CNN fitness contributor Dana Santas, a mind-body coach in professional sports, recommends mastering bodyweight movements first before moving on to free weights.
Try this 10-minute bodyweight workout
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