New research may inspire you to start lifting things around the house or join a gym to grab some weights. Just 30 minutes of lifting weights per week can cut your risk of dying early by up to a fifth.
Having strong muscles is a great way to stay healthy, fit and active. But, researchers had never looked at the perfect amount of weight training before. Scientists from Tohoku Univ. found that muscle strength training for 30 to 60 minutes a week lowers your risk of death from heart disease, cancer and blood sugar problems by 10 to 20 percent. If you add in aerobic exercise, the risk decreases by 40 percent. The combination lowered the risk of developing heart disease by 46 percent. If you don’t like traditional weightlifting, moving things around your garden or tilling soil works. Or you can use your own body weight by doing exercises like pushups.
“Although several physical activity guidelines recommend that adults perform muscle-strengthening activities based on musculoskeletal health benefits, our findings support this recommendation in terms of preventing premature death and major chronic diseases,” said lead researcher Haruki Momma.
The researchers analyzed 16 studies from the U.S., UK, Australia and Japan. Hundreds of thousands of people were in the studies. Their ages ranged from 18 to 97. The amount of data gave them a clear picture. It showed that muscle-building activity was linked to a lower death risk from all causes.
“The combination of muscle strengthening and aerobic activities may provide a greater benefit for reducing all-cause, cardiovascular disease and total cancer mortality,” the researchers wrote. “Given that the available data are limited, further studies — such as studies focusing on a more diverse population — are needed to increase the certainty of the evidence.”
One thing this study didn’t point out is that strength training also lowers your risk of a fall. That could be one of the factors as to why it appears to reduce all causes of early deaths. Falls become much more dangerous as we age. Preventing them is a great way to protect yourself from a premature death as the fall can be fatal. Recovering from it can cause substantial health complications in and of itself. Strength training aids bone health and balance, stopping falls before they happen.
Getting stronger aids your bones, balance and your overall wellness. This new research is yet more evidence that getting your muscles working hard helps you live a longer, better life. It might inspire you to get back to the gym or out into the yard to start your spring cleanup.