Found this Article in HealthDay: Seniors: Pump Iron, Live Longer.

When people 65 and older did strength training twice a week, they lowered their odds of dying from any cause by almost half during a 15-year study.

“The secret to a longer and healthier life may not be available in pill form, but it may look like a barbell,” said lead study author Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski. She’s an assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, in Hershey, Pa.

Living longer is always nice. But – and here’s the rub – What condition will you be in at the end game. No fun – to be severely impaired those last years.

While the study didn’t prove cause-and-effect, it found that people who did strength training at least two days a week were 46 percent less likely to die from any cause. And they were 41 percent less likely to die from heart disease, Kraschnewski said. She added that seniors who did at least two days of strength training were also 19 percent less likely to die from cancer compared to those who didn’t do the training.

Reduced heart disease and cancer – sounds good to me.

Responding to the study findings, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brad Thomas said, “Strength training has been well identified as a means to strengthen our bones and joints, but with this study we have a new benefit of longevity.” Thomas, who was not involved with the study, is an associate professor at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

Previous studies have shown that strength training may improve muscle mass and chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, lower back pain and obesity. Stronger muscles may also result in better stamina, physical function, and balance, according to background information in the study.

The big question is what exercises and how much. The article seems to waffle on this issue. I quotes public health guidelines and seems to call for really low impact workouts. Not me.

I started this round of exercising at 62. I was in the worst physical shape of my life and 80 pounds overweight. I focused on building muscle and being able to handle free weights. Took some time – but not limiting myself to machines and exercises for seniors paid off.

Even when – at age 70 – when I messed up my hip and was unable to exercise for close to 4+ months – I was able to re-bound and rebuild the significant muscle loss suffered during those months. I love it – when I get the looks from the younger guys for being able to grab the bar and do 10 chin-ups with leg lifts.

I aim for functionality. I will not lean on the table or the arm of the chair to stand up. “Thank you for offering – but I can lift that or do that.” 

What about you?