Single and divorced men are nearly four times more likely to be frail in old age, new research suggests.
Elderly men improve their frailty status by 3.6 times if they are coupled-up, a study found.
Improving their leg strength and being in otherwise good health also boosts their mobility, the research adds.
Yet, suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or diabetes, and being unable to perform everyday tasks, makes frailty worse, the study found.
Researchers recommend people prevent frailty by doing leg-strengthening activities, maintaining good overall health and enhancing their social support network.
Single and divorced men are nearly four times more likely to be frail in old age, research finds
MARRIAGE PREVENTS DEATH FROM HEART DISEASE: NAGGING SPOUSES BOOST SURVIVAL BY 14%
Marriage prevents death from heart disease, research revealed last month.
Married people are 14 per cent more likely to survive a heart attack than those who are single, a study found.
This is thought to be due to spouses nagging each other to live a healthy lifestyle, the research adds.
Husbands and wives can also be relied upon to remind the other to take their medication and generally help them to cope with their condition, the study found.
Lead author Dr Paul Carter from Aston University in Birmingham, said: ‘Marriage, and having a spouse at home, is likely to offer emotional and physical support on a number of levels’.
How the research was carried out
Researchers from Columbia University analyzed 5,086 men aged 65 and over who volunteered to participate in a study investigating bone fractures in osteoporosis.
At the start of the study, all of its participants could walk and lived independently, and none had undergone hip replacements.
Frailty was measured at the start of the study and, on average, 4.6 years later.
It was defined as low lean mass, weakness, exhaustion, poor activity levels and slow-walking speed.
The study’s participants were deemed to be ‘pre-frail’ if they fulfilled one or two of the aforementioned definitions.
Being married makes men less frail
Results reveal being married improves elderly men’s frail status by 3.6 times.
The researchers did not speculate why this result occurred, however, a previous study found married people are 14 percent more likely to survive a heart attack as their spouses nag them to have a healthy lifestyle.
Improving men’s leg power and being in otherwise good health also boosts mobility.
Suffering from COPD or diabetes, or being less able to perform everyday activities, worsens frailty.
The researchers recommend people prevent frailty and slow its progression by strengthening their leg muscles, enhancing their social support network and making lifestyle changes to avoid poor health.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.