Muscle Strengthening Linked to Lower Risk of Dying – Even in Short Amounts

Spending just 30-60 minutes a week on muscle-strengthening exercises could be enough to significantly lower your risk of dying, according to a new study, even without adding any additional cardiovascular exercise like running or cycling.

Based on an analysis of 16 previous studies, covering up to 25 years of research and sample sizes of nearly 480,000 people, muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a 10% to 20% lower risk of death from all causes . The risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), diabetesand Cancer were particularly affected.

Although this link has been informed beforein this case, the scientists wanted to see if there was a sweet spot in terms of how much muscle-building activity would be best in terms of reducing mortality risk.

What they found was that the benefits of muscle strengthening for more than an hour a week are not as clear when compared to various causes of death; here, the curve tends to be J-shaped, so the change in risk is less noticeable over time. that 60 minute mark.

“Muscle-strengthening activities were inversely associated with the risk of all-cause mortality and major noncommunicable diseases, including CVD, total cancer, diabetes, and lung cancer,” the researchers write in their paper.

“However, the influence of a higher volume of muscle-strengthening activities on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and total cancer is unclear when considering the observed J-shaped associations.”

As always with studies like this, it is important to be cautious when assuming causality. Research highlights a link between muscle-strengthening exercises and longer life, but there’s not yet enough data to say that these exercises directly cause longevity.

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There may be some other factor involved that will need more research to reveal, something that means people stay healthy longer but also gives them more time and opportunities to exercise regularly.

Previous studies have associated muscle strengthening activities with skeletal muscle strength, and skeletal muscle strength with a lower risk of mortality, so that could be one of the reasons why this association is being shown.

guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) already recommend that adults you should be doing muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week: think squats, push-ups, lifting weights, and even some serious yard work (digging and shoveling).

Granted, these exercises are generally good for you, but the 30-60 minute time frame gives us a new perspective on them.

One of the questions that remains is how much impact cardio has when done in conjunction with strength training. Here, when the team analyzed three studies that combined the two, they found that it reduced the risk of death by 40 percent compared to pooled samples.

Most of the studies used were conducted in the US, the researchers report, and used observational rather than clinical approaches. Furthermore, only a few studies could be combined for each outcome. These are limitations to be aware of when it comes to any future research.

“The combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities may provide a greater benefit in reducing all-cause, CVD, and total cancer mortality.” researchers write.

“Since the available data is limited, more studies, such as studies focused on a more diverse population, are needed to increase the certainty of the evidence.”

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The research has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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