New research reminds older adults to integrate strength training into their exercise regimens: The workouts lead to a longer lifespan when combined with aerobic exercise.
According to current physical health guidelines set forth by the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults should do at least two days of strength training and two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity each week.
However, while most people are aware of the health benefits associated with regular exercise, researchers have recently turned their attention to the improved health specifically associated with strength training. They found that those 65 and older who did strength training two to six times a week lived longer than those who did less than two.
Study author Dr. Bryant Webber, an epidemiologist in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says CNN“each type of physical activity was independently associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality in older adults”.
When adults met the muscle-strengthening guideline, which focuses on exercises that increase skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance, and mass, researchers found that they had a 10 percent lower risk of death, while those “who met the aerobic guideline only 24 had .percent lower risk of mortality”.
Dr Webber says those who “met both guidelines had a 30 per cent lower risk”.
The findings, which were published in the journal on Monday JAMA Network Open, applicable to all age groups, including the elderly. The study found that people aged 85 and older who met both exercise recommendations “had a 28 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than people over 85 who met neither guideline”.
“This finding suggests that aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity is valuable throughout the lifespan,” Webber said CNN.
To analyze the importance of physical activity as we age, researchers looked at data collected by the National Health Interview Survey. The study then compared exercise activity by age group with mortality over an average of eight years. The study adjusted for sex, age, race and ethnicity, education, marital status, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, and baseline presence of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma.
While meeting the recommended strength training guideline resulted in a “lower risk of death from any cause than adults who did strength training less than twice a week,” researchers also found that additional strength training each week did not provide additional protection .
Through the study, researchers ultimately concluded that the current health guidelines are important for adults of all ages, including those 85 and older.