Median bone prominence linked to later physical decline, study says

Median bone prominence linked to later physical decline, study says

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Editor’s note: Seek advice from a healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.


If you’re a man or woman approaching 50, look down at your middle. If you’re like many people, you may need to bend over a bit to see your feet. Yes, it’s the dreaded midsection bulge—that expanding waistline that can often creep up on you as you age, much like a receding hairline or extra wrinkles.

Hard to fight, seems almost like a rite of passage, just part of the cycle of life, right? But a new study has found that allowing your waistline to expand will do more than make you shop for the next size up in breeches — it could also harm your physical abilities later in life.

The study, which followed 4,509 people aged 45 or older in Norway over two decades found that participants who had a high or moderately high waist circumference at the start of the study were 57% more likely to be “frail” than those with a normal waist.

But frailty is not the “wobbly” old man bent over a cane that comes to mind. Instead, frailty includes poor grip strength, slower walking speed, general exhaustion, unintentional weight loss, and low physical activity.

People who were overweight at the start of the study, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above, were also 2.5 times more likely to be thin than those with a normal BMI (18 .5 to 24.9), according to the study published Jan. 23, 2023, in the journal BMJ Open.

There could be several reasons, according to the study authors. Obesity leads to increased inflammation in fat cells, which can damage muscle fibers, “resulting in reduced muscle strength and function,” study co-author Shreeshti Uchai, a postdoctoral researcher in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Oslo in Tromsø, Norway, and her colleagues wrote.

The results highlight the need to keep pace with both overall weight gain and increase in waist circumference, and to broaden the definition of frailty, the authors conclude.

“In the context of a rapidly aging population and a growing obesity epidemic, growing evidence recognizes the ‘fat and frail’ subset of older adults as opposed to viewing frailty as a wasting disorder,” they wrote.

Exercise can help counteract the increasing frailty that aging can bring. In accordance with US Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Losing body fat and building lean muscle can help improve balance and posture, says Nieka Goldberg, MD, medical director of Atria New York City and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. told CNN earlier.

To stay strong and healthy, try to do both aerobics and strength training.

They “seem to work together and help each other move toward better outcomes,” they said Dr. William RobertsProfessor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. “A balanced program of strength and aerobic activity is probably the best and probably most closely mimics the activities of our ancestors, which helped determine our current sets of genes.”

To get started with strength training, CNN Fitness Contributor Dana Santas, a mind-body coach in professional sports, offers mastery of body weight movements first before moving on to free weights.

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Try this 10-minute bodyweight workout

Learn all the details about these exercises and more from by signing up for CNN’s Fitness, But Better newsletter seriesa seven-part expert-backed guide that can help you get into a healthy routine.

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