Study Finds That Strength Training May Lower Early Death Risk

December 15, 2017 in STSMPT

In recent years there’s been a spotlight on aerobic exercise and its health benefits. It’s true that aerobic exercise produces a myriad of positive effects. However, there’s been less light shown on whether strength training has similar benefits. Part of this may be because strength training is more intimidating to most people than aerobic exercise, but, this has begun to change. A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows a potential link between strength training and lower risk of death.

Researchers examined the health records of 80,000 individuals aged 30 and up. They excluded people who already had cardiovascular disease or cancer. After adjusting for all other factors, they found that people who engaged in strength exercises had a 23% lower risk of death by all causes. They also had a 31% lower risk of cancer-related death.

Since this was an observational study, there is no way to tell if this relationship is causal or just a correlation. Researchers believe that their findings are enough to warrant encouraging people to participate in strength workouts. This is if they are physically capable of doing so. Strength training does not have to be as intimidating as going to the gym. Simple exercises such as squats, sit-ups, pushups, and other bodyweight exercises may be able to reap the benefits of strength training right at home. If you are considering starting an exercise regimen and have health concerns, talk with your physical therapist first to see what kinds of exercises are right for you.

Source: Stamatakis, Emmanuel, et al. “Does Strength Promoting Exercise Confer Unique Health Benefits? A Pooled Analysis of Eleven Population Cohorts with All-Cause, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Mortality Endpoints”. American Journal of Epidemiology.

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