A study recently came out of UCLA that says the more muscle older adults have, the longer they'll live. Tom Turck, 69, and spends plenty of time at the gym. "I workout essentially to stay healthy and for longevity," says Turck. Doctors say staying active is one of the healthiest things older adults can do.
"What I work on here a lot is balance, and with people falling and breaking their hips and things like that, it's a big part of it. Also, bone structure. You're a little less likely to break an arm or something like that.
And fitness experts agree.
"With increased strength and increased muscle mass, means increased bone density. Obviously with increased bone density means increased likelihood of osteoporosis, which is one of the main causes for people to break hips," says fitness expert David Widdison.
Physical therapists say older folks with more muscles are living longer, but muscle mass alone has nothing to do with longevity. “Our heredity. If we have family members who live longer our tendencies will be to potentially live longer. If we diet. If our diet is good. If we exercise regularly," says Doug Bradford of St. Alexius Medical Center.
It's no secret that as we age our bodies start to slow down. But physical therapists say if we don't stay active those bad habits can easily snowball until it's too late.
Even though muscles by themselves may not be the key to the fountain of youth, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet will help keep the body healthy hopefully for many years to come. Physical therapists say resistance training is beneficial for older adults, but if a gym membership isn't appealing to you, yard work or walking has many of the same benefits.
By Mark Charter