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Lift Weights For Longer Healthier Life

Have you been thinking about beginning a weight lifting protocol to help boost your strength, increase muscle mass, and lose weight? If you’ve been timid about strength training due to negative chatter about potential health risks, you’ll want to read on to learn some important information that should be taken into account when making your decision to join a gym with weight training equipment.

Research Shows Weight Training Improves Lifespan

There’s strong research suggesting that weight training is helpful for improving your lifespan. There are two papers in specific that offer some revealing insights regarding the overall advantages of strength training, even for those who regularly forgo the guidelines of aerobic exercise.

For the first study, a group at Indiana University looked at data provided by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the connection between muscle mass, strength, and mortality. The structure of the design was relatively simple: The team of scientists examined a group of 4,440 adults who were aged 50 or up and had their muscle mass and strength assessed in between 1999 to 2002. The study checked in with the individuals in 2011 to determine how they were faring.

A standard DEXA scanner was used to determine the muscle mass of each individual. It was revealed that just under a quarter of the subjects were considered to have “low muscle mass”. This meant that their total muscle mass in both the legs and arms added together was less than 33 pounds in women and 43.5 in men. To measure strength, a special device was used to assess the total force of knee extensions – the muscles allowing subjects to straighten their knees. It was discovered that around 19% of participants were labeled with low levels of muscle strength.

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published the results that found those participants with lower muscle strength in the study were over two-times more likely to have passed away during the second stage of the study when compared to those with what was deemed a normal amount of muscle strength. On the other hand, however, levels of muscles mass weren’t as significant.

This is what the results ended up looking like. LMS stands for low levels of muscle strength, and LMM stands for low levels of muscle mass.

Research shows weight training improves lifespan

From Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

The control group, located in the front and on the right hand side, didn’t have either one of the conditions. In contrast, those subjects with both of the conditions were found to be 2.66 times more likely to have passed away during the duration of the study. Those with normal strength but low muscle mass, didn’t see such negative outcomes.

What’s the overall message? Function is more important than appearance. It doesn’t suggest that you should let muscle mass fade as you get older. In fact, having a reserve of mass can be important, especially for those who have to spend some extended time in the hospital. It’s good to hear for those who can burn through some feats of strength but struggle at the same time to hold muscle mass.

The second study focused on how some public health recommendations consider strength training to be an afterthought. Generally speaking, people have been exposed to the idea that every should get at least 75 minutes per week of tough exercise or 150 minutes of relatively moderate exercise. There’s no shortage of data that supports these health benefits.

Weight Training Is A Recommended Exercise

However, there’s also a recommendation in these guidelines to do exercises that promote strength at least twice each week. This is typically framed as a method for increasing the quality of life and staving off fragility. However, the guidelines don’t go as far to suggest that strength exercise can actually help to extend one’s lifespan.

A research team in Australia examined data from roughly 80,000 adults living in Scotland and England who filled out surveys regarding their patters of physical activity dating back to the 1990’s. The primary result from the inquiry found that subjects who performed any amount of strength training were about 23% less likely to pass away throughout the period of study. These individuals were also 31% less likely to pass away from cancer. Just meeting the public health recommendations to strength train twice per week seemed to add little benefit.

Interestingly, and surprising to many, it seems that the benefits that can be derived from strength training with weights and body weight are roughly equal.

Within this sample group, it seems that the advantages derived from adhering to the guidelines on strength training were roughly the same when meeting the guidelines for aerobic training – at least when it came to overall mortality. Still, strength training wasn’t found to offer any considerable protection for participants against heart disease when compared. Ironically, it seems that this type of training can decrease blood pressure while increasing the stiffness of arteries, effectively resulting in a nullification. While this study didn’t answer the question, the findings certainly suggest that completely getting rid of aerobic exercise might not be the best option.

To be sure, the 29% reduction in overall mortality risk that was examined during the study was correlated with those participants that met both the strength and aerobic training recommendations.

In conclusion, there’s no doubt that strength training is beneficial. Maybe that’s not coming as news, but at least you have some studies to back it up.

You can find more information about our gym at the Core Strength Training page.

If you’re ready to start your weight and strength training protocol, call Gravity Fitness and Tennis at (208) 788-7669 for information on pricing and scheduling. Our facility has an entire gym with weight training equipment and exercise machines to get a great conditioning and strength workout.

Gravity Fitness And Tennis
1970 Woodside Blvd
Hailey, ID 83333
(208) 788-7669