Strength training may be just as important as aerobic exercise for a longer life


While aerobic exercise has long taken the lead in physical activity guidelines, researchers are finding that bicep curls and bench presses may be just as important for health and longevity.

strength training – Doing sports that increase muscle strength By making muscles work against a weight or force (such as gravity) – added to 2010 global recommendations on physical activity for health.

lately Dimensional analysis By combining 16 studies with data from more than 1.5 million people, muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a nearly 20 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, lung cancer, and all-cause mortality.

Daniel J. said: McDonough, a researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and co-author of a large book study that looked at the effect of aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening on mortality. Adding some muscle It also improves physical fitness and bone mineral density and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Running, swimming, playing soccer, and other aerobic exercises do a lot for cardiovascular system Cardiovascular – but it doesn’t do much for muscle mass or strength in general.

Perhaps most important for health, studies have found that strength training improves the body’s response to insulin and, in turn, leads to better control of blood sugar after meals – which means a reduced risk of developing diabetes or insulin resistance, conditions that can damage the heart and cardiovascular system By increasing the thickness of the heart wall and increasing the formation of arterial plaques.

also, Emerging evidence The contraction of skeletal muscles produces myokines, namely Small chains of amino acids The ones between your muscles and the rest of your body that can help regulate various metabolic processes that lead to better heart health, says McDonough. German researchers I reported last spring that “by stimulating skeletal muscles in a specific way, we can benefit from this cross talk and improve health.”

Since aging and inactivity tend to reduce muscle mass, resistance training is even more important for older adults because it helps slow the natural loss of muscle mass with age, says McDonough. Reducing muscle loss with age is essential to maintaining independence and helping seniors stay active. This also reduces the risk of chronic diseases resulting from inactivity and inactivity.

Strength training appears to have positive effects on brain health and function, and may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. experts Say.

Michael Valenzuela is a researcher at the University of New South Wales and one of the leaders of the study that looked at the effect of resistance exercise on cognitive function and brain structure in 100 people with mild cognitive impairment. He found that strength training seemed to protect areas of the brain, specifically the hippocampus, that Alzheimer’s disease typically targets.

That could give strength training a potential role in disease prevention, Valenzuela says. “We also found that these changes mediated better general cognitive performance in older adults who did the training, so it wasn’t just an accidental finding,” he says.

a Study 2022 In JAMA Network Open based on the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging found that having lower muscle mass was associated with a faster decline in cognitive function in the future in adults at least 65 years of age. The researchers hypothesized that greater muscle mass may lead to more physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness, which results in more blood flow to the brain.

So how much strength training is enough?

Federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans He recommends two or more sessions of strength training each week. Ideally, sessions should include four to six different exercises that use as many muscle groups as possible (legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms). For each exercise, complete 10 to 12 repetitions two to three times.

“We found that only 1-3 hours of moderate exercise per week — brisk walking and/or vigorous aerobic exercise such as [high intensity interval training] “Training — and just once or twice a week of strength training significantly reduced the risk of death from all causes,” says McDonough.

Given the importance of walking to the bus or the store, McDonough says, most people should be able to get about 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. He adds that two strength-training sessions don’t have to be in the gym. It can be any form of resistance, such as gravity, hand weights, resistance bands, even water bottles or cans from the cupboard, or heavy grocery bags.

So cardio, weights, or both? If you’re looking to live longer, doing both is your best bet, experts say.

“We have consistently found that the greatest health benefits, whether it was reduced risk of death or chronic disease or improvement in risk factors such as blood pressure or cholesterol, were seen among people who performed both types of exercise rather than one or the other.” Angelique Brillenthin, assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of A Recent review article Aerobic exercise or muscle strengthening: which is better for health?

The review found that while aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening independently reduced the risk of death from all causes, those who did cardio and weights experienced the greatest benefit, including a nearly 40 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 50 percent reduced risk of death from all causes. Risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

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