30 Minutes of Lifting Weights, Push-ups or Yard Work Weekly May Cut Risk of Death By 20%
A meta-analysis of more than half a million people has shown that a truly bare minimum of strength training can confer enormous benefit.
Researchers in Japan discovered that 30-60 minutes per week of muscle strengthening activities such as yoga, lifting weights, or gardening can reduce the risk of death from all causes by 10-20%.
When combined with aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, or swimming, this benefit was seen to rise to the 40 percentiles.
16 studies were looked at in the analysis. They consisted of more than half-a-million healthy adults being monitored for a period of at least twi years. The age range went from 18-97, and the monitoring period from 2-25 years.
All-cause mortality was looked at separately from heart disease and cancer, both of which tended to fall between 10-20%.
Reporting on the findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the Guardian noted that muscle strengthening activity doesn’t have to involve grunting over kettle and bar bells, but carrying children long enough, pushing a wheelchair, carrying shopping bags, heavy gardening, doing body weight exercises like pushups, squats, or sit-ups, or working with resistance bands.
There was an L-shaped curve, showing that extending strength training by more than an hour slowly tapered off its effectiveness in fighting disease and mortality rates. Moderate to intense physical activity is already recommended at about 150 minutes per week, a generally-recognized minimum to build and maintain healthy skeleto-muscular function.
Extending strength training beyond 60 minutes per week has other health benefits not-related to death, heart disease, and cancer.
It increases BDNF, a neurotransmitter in the brain key for proper hormonal function and memory, it clears stress hormones while releasing endorphins, fights off the onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases, it builds lean muscle mass, which itself is a predictor for disease, morbidity, and injury risk, and more.
The authors recognized limitations of the study, mainly that it relied on data from English-speaking countries. Greater diversity of participants would better flush out the research.
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