Don’t want to die prematurely? A plausible link has been found in research indicating that moderate weekly exercises with focus on muscle-strengthening activities may lower your risk of death by 10-20 percent from common causes, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and cancer.
These are the interpreted findings from a paper called ‘Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Cohort studies are a type of longitudinal study where researchers follow participants over more extended periods (in many cases for many years). Most importantly, cohort studies recruit and follow participants who share common characteristics, like occupation or demographic similarities.
In the analysis of this research, David Nield writing for sciencealert.com is careful to add ‘As always with studies like this, it’s important to be cautious about assuming causation. The research highlights a link between muscle strengthening exercises and longer life, but there’s not enough data yet to say these exercises directly cause that longevity.’
It seems making muscle strengthening exercises a 30–60-minute weekly habit is all you need to make a significant impact on your health. No need to go for crazy long workouts at the gym, ‘the benefits of muscle strengthening for more than an hour a week aren’t quite as clear when compared with various causes of death.’
Building more muscle strengthening exercises into your week routine would concur with ‘Guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) already recommend that adults should carry out muscle strengthening exercises at least two days a week’
To increase your longevity by 10-20%, you should be aiming to do 30-60 minutes a week on exercises that comprise of squats, push-ups, lifting weights, and perhaps even some serious gardening (digging and shoveling). This seems to be the analysis one can assume from muscle exercise activity research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. You can get the benefit of increased longevity from just muscle strengthening exercises, ‘even with no extra cardio exercise like running or cycling added in.’
In recent years, several studies have concluded that preserving muscle mass through strength exercises lowers all-cause mortality, increases the quality of life, and helps prolong the independence of seniors.
Can other exercises increase your life span?
If you are prepared to do cardio exercises in tandem with muscle strengthening ones, the team found in certain samples of their research that you can lower your risk of death by at least 40 percent!
Making exercise a regular weekly habit seems to be the key.
Exercise is generally considered to be a good thing; even scientists pioneering research in other fields of health say that exercise has benefits for preventing premature aging of the brain and the onset of Alzheimer’s.