analyse older adult fitness

How Fitness Levels Can Help Predict Lifespan in Over 70’s

With fitness continuously growing, industry professionals and researchers are constantly bringing new insights that help combat health problems across the UK. Now, new research has opened opportunities for predicting the lifespan of Older Adults, bringing new hope when it comes to getting more over 70’s active and helping to combat common health problems among Older Adults.

Previously, analysing a person’s risk of death was done by looking at blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. Although, as new research comes to light, researchers say that down to these factors being common among Older Adults, analysing these factors is virtually meaningless when it comes to predicting health in the coming years.

Now, researchers are saying that analysing Older Adults’ fitness levels can be much more useful than previous methods when it comes to predicting future health. Lead Author of the new study, Seamus P. Whelton, M.D, MPH said; “We found fitness is an extremely strong risk predictor of survival in older age groups. This is regardless of whether you are otherwise healthy or have cardiovascular risk factors, being more fit means you’re more likely to live longer than someone who is less fit.”

This new research comes after Whelton stated that previous research had left a big gap in what we know, as it has only previously looked at middle-aged people, rather than also including those in older age. Although there has previously been a lack of research into predicting the lifespan of Older Adults, this new research shows positivity, as it is now known that improving Older Adult fitness levels will be hugely beneficial and will even increase their predicted lifespan.

This is really positive for Personal Trainers with Older Adult fitness qualifications, as they are able to get involved with clients and know that the work they are putting in is having a positive impact on not just their fitness, but their overall life. Along with it acting like a big motivator for more Personal Trainers to get involved with Older Adult fitness, the research can also be used to encourage more Older Adults to take up regular fitness sessions. Along with this, and the benefits of fitness and Personal Training for Older Adults, there is more motivation than ever for getting Older Adults more active.

Throughout the study, researchers looked at medical records from over 6,500 people aged 70+ who underwent exercise stress tests between 1991 and 2009. The stress-tests involved participants running on a treadmill at peak performance capacity; allowing researchers to reliably divide participants into three groups depending on their performance. From using this research, and looking into mortality rates, they were able to see the reliable link between fitness levels and the chance of death.

Researchers found that those who were among the fittest participants were up to twice as likely to be alive 10 years later compared to those who were among the least fit in the study; proving that analysing fitness levels can be monumental to help increase the lifespan of Older Adults.

With there being more stress than ever on the NHS, research like this is massively positive. Whelton states that; “Assessing fitness is a low-cost, low-risk and low-technology tool that is underutilised in clinical practice for risk stratification.” and this research just emphasises how correct he is. With the NHS being on a tight budget and resources being stretched, being able to easily, and cheaply analyse fitness levels to predict the length of life will play a big part in the sustainability of the NHS, as it allows experts to save time, money and resources.

Although Personal Trainers can’t just get involved with specialist areas of health and fitness, this research does bring positive signs for those with Older Adult clients and Older Adults themselves, as they know that the workouts they do will make a difference in the long-term.

If you’re a Personal Trainer who is looking to get involved with Older Adult clients, take a look at our Older Adult Fitness qualification to see how you can become qualified and make a difference to Older Adult fitness near you. If you’re looking for ways that you can further your involvement with Older Adults, take a look at our Exercise Referral Diploma to help Older Adult and others with specific health problems.

With fitness constantly growing, the potential to expand your credentials and increase your involvement with clients is virtually endless. Get in touch to see where your qualifications can take you and find out how you can reach the full potential of your fitness career.


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