Strength training for a long life
Regular physical exercise has plenty of health benefits, one of which is a longer life. Until now, most research showed that regular cardio or strength training interchangeably was the key to cardiac health, but recently, more and more experts are waking up to the benefits of pairing the two together for maximum longevity and health.
A new study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that doing both aerobics, up to three hours a week, and strength training, up to two sessions a week can result in lower mortality risks and better overall health than doing just one or the other.
Carver Coleman, a data scientist and one of the authors of the study mentioned that a switch from an inactive to an active lifestyle is comparable to dropping tobacco use. This was further proven in the study when the mortality for those that took part in one to two strength training sessions per week as opposed to those who did not exercise at all, was measured. The difference was a whopping 40 per cent in favour of the exercisers, almost exactly as beneficial as if one were quitting tobacco after regularly using half a pack a day.
The study took data from 416,420 American adults, for research which went on for about seven years.
Despite the huge number of participants, experts feel that more investigation is required to define a clear relationship between longevity and strength training. This is because very few people do it regularly, especially strength training. According to data, only about 24 per cent of people do resistance exercises as opposed to the 63 per cent that does regular aerobics.
However, it seems as if research is catching up, of late, and it has now been possible to quantify the impact of strength training on longevity, leaving aerobic activity out. The British Journal of Sports Medicine and a meta-analysis that was published in February this year stated that 10-20 per cent reduction in mortality came about with 30 to 60 minutes of resistance training per week, along with similar drops in cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Regular strength training also helps retain muscle strength as people age. Loss of muscle mass usually starts to happen between the 30s and gets progressively worse with age. However, with resistance training, the effects are entirely reversible. Doctors suggest starting light and then easing into the exercise schedule. Making resistance training a habit not only allows one to live long but also improves the quality of life that one leads, allowing them energy and activity at any age.