New Studies Tie Middle-Age Exercise to Longevity, Decreased Risk of Diabetes

Longevity studies
(Photo by Michael Jung / Getty Images.) A recent Mayo Clinic Proceedings study found that middle-age American adults with moderate muscle strength are 32 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Two recent studies suggest that, through regular exercise, aging adults may be able to promote longevity and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

New research published on March 8 via the JAMA Network claims that starting workouts in middle age, despite previous years of sedentary behavior, may extend the lifespan of adult Americans.

Researchers assessed health data for 315,059 adults between age 50 and age 71 who completed exercise habit surveys that detailed their adolescence through the most recent decade. Those who reported consistent workouts from their youth through middle age were 36 percent less likely to die of any cause versus those who reported inactivity. Ultimately, this group was 42 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 14 percent less likely to die of cancer.

Interestingly, previously sedentary adults also reported a 35 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality when they became active between age 40 and age 61. This group was 43 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 16 percent less likely to die of cancer.

Another study, published March 11 via Mayo Clinic Proceedings, claims that maintaining muscle strength over time can help reduce one's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers monitored leg press, bench press and treadmill exercises for 4,681 American adults whose average age was 43. They found that those with moderate muscle strength were 32 percent less likely to develop diabetes. Higher levels of muscle strength did not appear to further reduce one's risk, the study notes.

This research follows several other recent studies that suggest regular exercise can help aging Americans promote longevity, slow physical frailty and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

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