Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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Weight-lifting as part of your exercise can massively cut your risk of early death, researchers have uncovered. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that doing the activity once or twice a week could slash your risk of dying from any cause by at least 41 percent, when coupled with aerobic exercise.
It’s known by most people that moderate exercise is good for you. It’s linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many dangerous conditions.
The NHS recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking or dancing, or 75 minutes of intense physical activity like running and swimming.
But until this study, the effect of “weightlifting… together with moderate to physical activity (MVPA) on mortality outcomes” was “less understood”, the authors said.
The study used health data from 99,713 people over a 10-year period to reach their conclusion.
At the start of the study, participants – aged 71 on average – reported how much exercise they were doing. They were also followed up years later to find out how their health was.
It turned out that people whom only weight lifted were between nine and 22 percent less likely to die from any cause.
But when it was coupled with aerobic exercise, these odds improved massively to between 41 and 47 percent less risk.
Weight training is known to have all sorts of benefits – such as improving your metabolism and protecting your joints from injury.
It also releases endorphins that can slash your stress levels. Stress is linked to a heightened risk of conditions such as heart disease.
But even if you can’t do weight training with aerobic exercise, the study also supports the importance of the NHS’ guidelines on moderate and vigorous physical activity.
People who only met the guidelines for aerobic activity still had 32 percent lower risk of dying.
The authors of the study admitted that it’s only an “observational study” and doesn’t explain why the two work well together.
It may also be prone to “measurement error” as it relied on people accurately reporting the amount of exercise they do.
According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training doesn’t just help you to live longer but helps you to live well.
The health body stated: “Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Strength training can also protect your joints from injury.
“Building muscle also can contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.”
It may also offset mental decline, which naturally occurs as you age.
It added: “Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.”
But it warned: “If you have a chronic condition, or if you’re older than age 40 and you haven’t been active recently, check with your doctor before beginning a strength training or aerobic fitness program.”
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