Live longer by adding strength training to your workout

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Physical Activity Guidelines for older adults, do at least two days of strength training and 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity each week. Yet many people minimize muscle building, relying on the benefits of aerobic exercise on the heart.

That would be a mistake, according to a new study. Regardless of aerobic physical activity, adults over 65 who did strength training two to six times a week lived longer than those who did less than twice, according to study author Dr. Bryant Webber, an epidemiologist in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We found that each type of physical activity was independently associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality in older adults,” Webber said in an email.

“Those who only met the muscle building guideline (compared to none of the guidelines) had (a) a 10% lower mortality risk, those who met the aerobic guideline had only a 24% lower mortality risk, and those who met both guidelines had 30% lower risk,” he said.

The results apply to all age groups, even the oldest, according to the published study Monday in JAMA Network Open Review.

The study found that people 85 and older who met both aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines had a 28% lower risk of dying from any cause than people over 85 who didn’t. did not follow any of the guidelines.

“This finding suggests that aerobic and muscle-building physical activity is valuable throughout life,” Webber said.

The study focused on leisure and other physical activities collected by National Health Interview Survey, an ongoing US health survey by the CDC. Information on strength training and aerobic activity by age group was then compared to deaths over an average of eight years.

The study controlled for demographics and marital status, body mass index, history of smoking or alcohol consumption, and the presence of asthma, cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, hypertension and stroke.

Looking only at strength training data, the study found that adults who did two to three sessions or four to six sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises per week had a lower risk of dying from any reason. that is, adults who did strength training less than twice a week.

Doing more was not beneficial – the study found anywhere from seven to 28 sessions weight training weekly did not provide additional protection.

You don’t need to go to a gym to strengthen your muscles, the CDC said. You can lift weights at home, work out with resistance bands, use your body weight for resistance (eg, push-ups and sit-ups), and dig or shovel in the garden. Even “lifting cans could be considered a muscle-building activity,” Webber said.

The goal is to work all the major muscle groups of the body: belly, arms, back, pectorals, hips, legs and shoulders.

Looking only at aerobic exercise data, the study found that doing 10 to 300 minutes a week was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause compared to doing less than 10 minutes. per week.

Aerobic activity can include walking, biking, hiking, raking leaves and pushing a lawn mower and water exercises, to name a few.

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