Should strength training exercises be given more credit for its long-term benefits? There is still evidence to support the benefits of muscle-building exercises. A new meta-analysis found that those who strength-train are less likely than those who don’t, even if they don’t do aerobic exercise.
Similar past research has also pointed out the long-term health benefits of strengthening training . However, the new analysis, published Feb 28 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine considers more recent data up to June 2021.
Data suggests that 30 to an hour of weekly strength-training was the best amount to increase longevity. However, the benefit did not plateau with higher amounts of strength training exercises.
“This offers a potential optimal dose of muscles-strengthening activity,” said Haruki Mumma, PhD. She is a lecturer at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.
Current U.S. exercise guidelines recommend that muscle-strengthening exercises be done twice per week, but they don’t specify how many hours. Dr. Momma and other experts agree that the new data does not warrant a time-based recommendation on strength training to update current physical activity guidelines. However, it is a step in the right direction.
Regular Strength Training Exercises Lowers Death From Cancer, Heart Disease And Other
Momma and her colleagues analyzed data from 16 other studies to gain a better understanding of the effects of aerobic exercise on longevity and risk of death from common conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These smaller studies looked at how physical activity affected life spans over many decades in many cases. These studies included participants aged 18 to 98 and ranged from approximately 3,800 to 478,000.
The study showed that participants who exercised any amount of muscle-strengthening had a 15% lower chance of dying prematurely from all causes. The risk of premature death due to diabetes, cancer and heart disease was 10-17 percent lower when weight training was done.
However, more weight training did not necessarily bring the greatest benefits. Researchers found that people who did 30-60 minutes of muscle-building exercises per week had the greatest benefit, a 10% to 20% reduction in early death from all causes. There was an hour-long benefit after the first hour. However, beyond the first hour, there was a slight benefit for about one more hour per week.
Unsurprisingly, adding aerobic exercise to weekly strength training exercises yielded the biggest longevity benefit. Compared with being inactive, doing both aerobic exercise and strength training exercises on a weekly basis was associated with 40 percent lower odds of premature death from all causes, the study found. This combination of workouts was also linked to a 46 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 28 percent lower risk of cancer death.
These findings have some caveats. Although the study does show a correlation between mortality and these types of exercise, it doesn’t prove one causes the other. There could be other factors that were not controlled for in the studies. The analysis was based on people’s self-reported exercise habits and not workouts objectively measured using fitness trackers or other gadgets. This could lead to misrepresentations of physical activity.
Not Enough Data To Create A Weekly Strength Training Plan
This new review’s findings are in line with other data regarding the relationship between strength training and long-term health benefits. In a study, published in 2020 in the Preventing chronic disease, data on longevity and exercise for more than 72,000 adults was examined. The study showed that weight training for two hours per week reduced the risk of premature deaths from all causes by 10-12 percent. However, no benefits were seen for longer periods.
The U.S. The U.S. Department of Health And Human Services (HHS), Physical Activity Guidelines For Adults
Recommend that you do muscle-strengthening activities for all major muscle groups at minimum twice per week. This could include lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push-ups and sit-ups, as well as some types of yoga. Adults should also get 150 minutes of exercise per week according to the guidelines. Aerobic exercise of moderate intensity Each week, 75 minutes of vigorous activity (like running) or walking (or biking)
This new research adds to previous evidence that weight training is optimal regardless of how much exercise people do.
However, it would be premature for the guidelines to be changed, according to IMin Lee, MD ScD. He is a Harvard T.H. professor of epidemiology. The Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are both responsible for studying exercise and disease prevention.
Dr. Lee, who was not involved in the analysis, said that it was too early to make time-based guidelines. She adds that two 30-minute strength training sessions per week would be in line with current guidelines, if they were targeting all major muscle groups.
“Muscle-strengthening exercises lead to increased muscle mass and muscle strength, which help improve physical functioning,” Lee says. These exercises improve glucose metabolism, maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure. These factors reduce the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. This lowers your chance of dying.
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