Posts tagged with "Live longer"

More power to you: High intensity training is best for older people

October 9, 2020

A study conducted by the Cardiac Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has determined that twice-a-week high intensity interval training provides the most health benefits for people aged 70-79, EurekAlert reports.

“First of all, I have to say that exercise in general seems to be good for the health of the elderly. And our study results show that on top of that, training regularly at high intensity has an extra positive effect,” says Dorthe Stensvold, a CERG professor who has been looking forward to sharing the results of the Generation 100 study for a while now.

She says that high-intensity exercise has clear effects: “Among most 70-77-year-olds in Norway, 90% will survive the next five years. In the Generation 100 study, more than 95% of the 1,500 participants survived!” she said.

The five-year research initiative randomly divided healthy participants into three different training groups when the study started in 2012:

  • The first group was assigned to high-intensity training intervals according to the 4X4 method twice a week,
  • Group two was instructed to train at a steady, moderate intensity for 50 minutes two days a week. The participants could choose whether they wanted to train on their own or participate in group training with instructors.
  • The third group—the control group—was advised to exercise according to the Norwegian health authorities’ recommendations. This group was not offered organized training under the auspices of Generation 100, but was called in for regular health checks and fitness assessments.

Both physical and mental quality of life were better in the high-intensity group after five years than in the other two groups. High-intensity interval training also had the greatest positive effect on fitness,” says Stensvold.

But does this kind of exercise prolong life to a greater extent than moderate exercise?

In the interval training group, 3% of the participants had died after five years. The percentage was 6% in the moderate group. The difference is not statistically significant, but the trend is so clear that we believe the results give good reason to recommend high-intensity training for the elderly,” says Stensvold.

Among the participants in the control group, 4.5% had died after five years.

“One challenge in interpreting our results has been that the participants in the control group trained more than we envisioned in advance. One in five people in this group trained regularly at high intensity and ended up, on average, doing more high-intensity training than the participants in the moderate group,” says Stensvold.

This could also explain why this group ended up in between the other two groups in terms of survival.

“You could say that this is a disadvantage, as far as the research goes. But it may tell us that an annual fitness and health check is all that’s needed to motivate older people to become more physically active. In that case, it’s really good news,” says Stensvold.

As to the question of whether this study offers definitive proof that exercise prolongs life, Stensvold says, “I’d like to answer with a clear and unequivocal yes, because we believe that this is true. But training is probably not the only reason why so few of the Generation 100 participants died compared to what’s expected in this age group. The people who signed up to participate in Generation 100 probably had high training motivation to begin with. They also started with a relatively high level of activity, and most of them considered themselves to be in good health.

Stensvold points out that the participants in all three of the Generation 100 study groups managed to maintain their fitness levels throughout the five-year period. That’s quite unique for people in this age group, according to physician and PhD candidate Jon Magne Letnes.

“Normally we see a drop in fitness of 20% over a ten-year period for people in their 70s. The fact that the participants in Generation 100 have managed to maintain their strong fitness levels from start to finish indicates that all three groups were more physically active than is usual for this age group,” he says.

Letnes, who like Stensvold is affiliated with CERG at NTNU, refers to his own study which was published two weeks ago. It contains information on 1500 healthy men and women who tested their fitness level twice, at ten years apart, in connection with the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (Hunt3).

“We found that age has the least effect on fitness level for people who exercise regularly at high intensity. This group had a drop in fitness of 5% over ten years. By comparison, fitness levels dropped by 9% individuals who exercised regularly but not at high intensity. Those who were physically inactive lost as much as 16% of their physical conditioning over ten years,” says Letnes.

The decline in fitness was greater among the elderly than in younger people. Those who maintained their conditioning best also had the healthiest status when it came to risk factors for lifestyle diseases and poor health.

“Blood pressure, waist measurement, cholesterol and resting heart rate increased less in people who maintained their conditioning than in those who had a larger drop in fitness figures,” Letnes says.

Stensvold believes that the results from Letnes’ research support the most important findings in the Generation 100 study.

“In Generation 100, the high-intensity training increased participants’ conditioning the most after the first, third and fifth years. We know that better fitness is closely linked to lower risk of premature death, so this improvement may explain why the high-intensity group apparently had the best survival rate,” she says.

She ends by saying, “By high intensity we mean training that gets you really sweaty and out of breath. Now our hope is that the national recommendations for physical activity will be modified to encourage older people even more strongly to do high intensity training – either as their only form of exercise or to supplement more moderate training.”

The study was published in the medical journal, BMJ.

Research contact: @EurekAlert

‘Sensational’ study: Coffee’s bitter taste gives drinkers a ‘buzz’

November 19, 2018

While the aroma of coffee is enticing and pleasurable, most people find the taste to be bitter. However, a study published in Scientific Reports this month—and covered in a report by NPR—has found that, the more sensitive you are to the bitter taste of coffee, the more of it you tend to drink.

A team of researchers from the Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States conducted the investigation using data stored in the UK Biobank, a major global health resource established over a decade ago by the Wellcome Trust medical charity, Medical Research Council, Department of Health, and the Scottish Government—and supported by the National Health Service..

More than 500,000 residents of England , Scotland, and Wales between the ages of 37 and 73 contributed blood, urine, and saliva samples to the Biobank between 2006 and 2010—and agreed to have their health status tracked, in order to determine which diseases and health conditions they would develop during the remainder of their lives.

The same volunteers also filled out questionnaires asking a variety of health-related questions—including how much coffee, tea, and alcohol they drank on a daily basis.

Since most of us inherit our taste preferences from our parents, the researchers used genetic analysis of samples from the Biobank to find people who were more or less sensitive to three bitter substances: caffeine, quinine (think tonic water) and a chemical called propylthiouracil that is frequently used in genetic tests of people’s ability to taste bitter compounds.

The objective was to determine whether people sensitive to one or more of these three substances drank more or less coffee than other drinkers. Surprising, NPR reports, people who exhibited greater sensitivity to caffeine reported higher coffee consumption, compared with people who did not strongly perceive the bitter taste. Strangely enough, the researchers said, “opposite relationships were observed for tea consumption.”

Conversely, those who were sensitive to quinine and propylthiouracil—neither of which is in coffee—tended to drink less coffee on a daily basis. For alcohol, a higher perceived intensity of propylthiouracil (bitterness) was associated with lower overall consumption.

How to explain these results? NPR reports that Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and one of the study authors, says people may “learn to associate that bitter taste with the stimulation that coffee can provide.” In other words, they get hooked on the buzz.

And it turns out those who drink two or three cups a day just might live longer, too.

Research contact: @joesbigidea