Lifting weights regularly could cut risk of dying early, study finds | Science & Tech News

Lifting weights regularly could cut people’s risk of dying early, a study has found.

A combination of “pumping iron” and aerobic exercise every week reaped the most benefits, researchers said.

Academics at the US’s National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, examined data on almost 100,000 adults taking part in a US screening study.

The participants, who had an average age of 71, gave information on their weightlifting activity and any other exercise they took part in.

Some 23% reported any weightlifting activity and 16% reported regularly weightlifting at least one to six times per week.

Almost a third (32%) were deemed to be “sufficiently active” by researchers, with 24% meeting aerobic activity guidelines and 8% exceeding them.

During a follow-up period of 9.6 years 28,477 of the participants died.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found adults who reported any weightlifting had a 9% lower “all-cause mortality risk”.

A similar observation was found for heart disease deaths, but no link was found between weight-lifting and cancer deaths.

Those who took part in “regular” weightlifting were found to have a 14% lower risk of death, while those who met the aerobic activity levels had a 32% lower risk of death.

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Adults who reported meeting the aerobic activity guidelines and weightlifting at least one or two times each week were found to have a 41 to 47% lower risk of death during the study period.

“Weightlifting in older adults was independently associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality,” the authors wrote.

“Among adults reporting no aerobic MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity), any weightlifting was associated with 9-22% lower all-cause mortality.

“Lower all-cause mortality was observed in older adults doing either aerobic or weightlifting exercise, but the lowest mortality risk was seen among adults who reported both types of exercise.

“The weightlifting-associated mortality benefit shown here provides initial evidence to clinicians and other health professionals that older adults would probably benefit from adding weightlifting exercises to their physical activity routines.”

Adults are urged to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.

They are also encouraged to do “strengthening exercises” that work the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms at least two days a week.

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