Older People Having Less Strength at Greater Risk for Being Hospitalized

Exercise programs designed to increase muscle density in the elderly could help reduce rates of disability and hospitalization, new research suggests.

The contention stems from a study of 3,011 healthy U.S. residents, aged 70 to 80. During about a five-year span, more than 55 percent of them were hospitalized at least once. People most likely to be hospitalized were those who scored lowest on measures of physical function, such as walking speed, ability to stand up from a chair repeatedly, grip strength and leg strength , Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

However, a new study found that older people who have less strength, lower muscle density and overall poor physical function are at greater risk for being hospitalized than their stronger, more fit counterparts. The key seemed to be having more muscle density, a measure of fat versus lean tissue in the muscle , Los Angeles Times reports.

And frequent hospital stays for senior citizens means a lower quality of life and a high cost to society as a whole. Now, an important study from the Journal of the American Geriatric Society shows exercise can help to lower the risk of hospitalization ,7Online.com reports.