Looking for the key to a long, healthy life? Abdominal strength and endurance may be related to longevity, say researchers from York University in Ontario, Canada, in a study published in a recent issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.
Over 8,100 people ages 20 to 69 underwent tests of physical fitness, including sit-ups, push-ups, measures of grip strength and flexibility in 1981. Thirteen years later, 238 of the study participants had died, and researchers evaluated the risk of death based on a person's fitness level.
Push-ups and flexibility weren't found to have an influence on risk of death. However, in both men and women, people who completed the fewest sit-ups had a significantly higher risk of death. Grip strength did not affect a woman's risk of death, but the men with the weakest grip strength had a 49% higher risk of death. The researchers in this study theorized that abdominal strength and endurance might help to predict how long a person lives.
Sources: Katzmarzyk PT, Craig CL. Musculoskeletal fitness and risk of mortality. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2002;34:740-4.