Tuesday, November 07, 2017 by Russel Davis
Strength training may improve longevity and significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. According to the researchers, this is because strength training exercises — which include weight lifting, push-ups, and squats — are more strenuous and demanding compared with the seemingly more attractive aerobic activities such as running, swimming, or cycling.
A team of researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia pooled data from the Health Survey for England, Scottish Health Survey, and the NHS Central Mortality Register as part of the study. The study enrolled up to 80,306 adults aged 30 years and older. The findings revealed that participants who engaged in strength training activities were up to 23 percent less likely to die of all causes. Likewise, volunteers who underwent strength training had a 31 percent reduced risk of cancer-related death.
“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling. And assuming our findings reflect cause and effect relationships, it may be even more vital when it comes to reducing risk of death from cancer,” lead author Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis told Daily Mail online.
The research team did not find a causal relationship between strength training and mortality. However, the scientists stressed that their results have enough credentials to encourage people to undergo strength training exercises. (Related: Exercise works by stimulating NERVES, not just muscles, study finds.)
“Our message to date has just been to get moving but this study prompts a rethink about, when appropriate, expanding the kinds of exercise we are encouraging for long-term health and well-being. When people think of strength training they instantly think of doing weights in a gym, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Many people are intimidated by gyms, the costs or the culture they promote, so it’s great to know that anyone can do classic exercises like triceps dips, sit-ups, push-ups or lunges in their own home or local park and potentially reap the same health benefits,” the lead author adds in a Medical News Today report.
Strength training not only staves off both all-cause and cancer-related mortality, but also offers a wide array of additional health benefits. An entry published on the American Cancer Society (ACS) website enumerates the many advantages of following two or three 20- or 30-minute strength training sessions per week. These benefits include:
The article has also listed a few important pointers to maximize the beneficial effects of strength training. These tips include: