Strength training and aerobics reduce risk of early death, study finds

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Aerobic activities and strength training have health benefits on their own, but their combination could have an even greater effect when it comes to preventing disease and risking early death.

According to a study published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, people who lifted weights once or twice a week, along with the recommended amount of aerobic activity, had a 41% lower risk of dying prematurely.

The research team based their findings on self-reports and health information from nearly 100,000 men and women who took part in the trial to screen for prostate, lung, colorectal and cervical cancer. ovary, which began in 1998 and followed participants through 2016. Participants answered questionnaires in 2006. about their exercise habits over the past year, and the authors of this latest study have checked whether these participants had developed cancer or had died in 2016.

Older adults who did strength training without any aerobic activity reduced their risk of premature death from any cause by up to 22%, a percentage that depended on the number of times they lifted weights in a week – using weights once or twice a week was associated with a 14% lower risk, and the benefit increased with the number of times a person lifted weights.

Those who did aerobic exercise reduced their risk by up to 34%, compared to participants who did no strength training or aerobic exercise. But the lowest risk – 41% to 47% – was in those who met the recommended weekly amounts of aerobic activity (see below for tips) and lifted weights once or twice a week, compared to those who were not active. The authors did not find a lower risk of death from cancer.

Participants’ education, smoking status, body mass index, race and ethnicity did not impact the results, but gender did – the associations were stronger in women, the researchers found.

« The results of this study are predictable, but it is significant that the authors provide the expected results in the form of data in the elderly, » said Haruki Momma, senior lecturer in the Department of Medicine and Sport and Health Sciences. exercise at Tohoku University in Japan, by email. Mom did not participate in the study.

« That’s one of the most important points of this study, » Momma added. « Previous studies in the elderly are limited. »

The results support the joint benefits of muscle-strengthening activities via strength training as well as aerobic activity, in amounts that roughly match current guidelines for physical activity, the authors said.

The World Health Organization recommends that older adults (65 and older) get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. Aerobic activities include walking, dancing, running or jogging, cycling, and swimming.

Muscle-strengthening exercises should be done at least twice a week if possible, as directed. These can help prevent falls and related injuries, as well as decline in bone health and capacity.

Strength exercises you can do for 30 to 60 minutes include deadlifts, overhead dumbbell presses, and dumbbell lateral raises, which involve using your back muscles and from your shoulders to lift light dumbbells so that your arms and body form a T-shape.

Important Note: If you feel pain while exercising, stop immediately. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

The authors did not have information about the specific strength training or aerobic exercises the participants did.

“As the authors stated, there was no information on training intensity, training load, volume (sets and reps),” Momma said. by email. « Therefore, the optimal prescription of regular muscle-strengthening exercise to prevent mortality remains unclear. However, this limitation is not limited to this study. Studies of the epidemiology of muscle-strengthening exercise are subject to this limitation.

But the researchers had some ideas about how exercise might help prevent illness or premature death.

Strength training can improve body composition or lean muscle mass, which was previously associated with greater protection against premature death from any cause and cardiovascular disease.

Having more lean muscle and less body fat can help with balance, posture and cholesterol regulation, Dr. Nieca Goldberg told CNN in March. Goldberg, medical director of Atria New York City and clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, was not involved in the study.

« We know that obese people are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, glucose intolerance, and certain cancers, so improving that (health) profile is beneficial, » Goldberg said. « People who participate in regular activities…may also have healthier vision and lead other healthy lifestyles. »

The increased benefit of combining the two exercises could be because the two work together to improve health, Dr. William Roberts, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, told CNN. in March. A balanced diet more closely mimics the lifestyles of our ancestors, he added.

Additionally, muscles help with the functions of the endocrine and paracrine systems, the authors said — those responsible for hormones and cellular communication, respectively. Strength training can also be done in social settings, the researchers added, and having social connections has been linked to a longer life.

The authors noted that there may be measurement errors associated with participants’ recall of their exercise habits and that the study may not apply to people of color and younger people, as most of the participants were non-Hispanic white and aged 71 on average.

Future studies that are more diverse, longer and careful over time would be beneficial in understanding the relationships between these exercises and the risk of early death, the authors said.

But for now, older adults who do either exercise should incorporate the other into their daily lives, Momma said.

« Better a little physical activity than none at all, » Momma said. « Because fitness levels and chronic disease in older adults vary with (the) individual, please be as physically active as your abilities and conditions permit. »

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