Strength training, says a study, might be the secret to longevity and disease prevention
Apparently, you may have already been applying the secret to a longer life for a while now, as a study suggests that lifting weights could potentially lower risks of dying early by nearly 50 percent.
Over the years, aerobic exercises have proven to be a great way to improve health as you get older, but according to Dr. Robert Schreiber, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, aerobic exercises are not enough. “Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional.”
But that doesn’t mean you have to stop; combining aerobic exercise with strength training reduces the risk of premature death more than just doing aerobic exercise alone.
Once you hit your 50s, strength training becomes vital in maintaining your ability to perform daily activities. Maintaining lean mass is particularly important in helping you be active and independent despite an aging body.
“You’ll burn more calories throughout the day just by having more muscle mass on your frame, which helps you maintain a healthy weight,” says Jennifer Kraschnewski, M.D. in the same interview.
Apart from lifting barbells and dumbbells, strength training workouts such as push-ups, sit-ups, and squats are just as important as jogging and cycling, which improve cardiovascular fitness and mental health. Not only do they help lessen the possibility of getting cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s, they may also reduce risks of getting cancer.
As you age, your bones tend to be more fragile, which could lead to osteoporosis, but according to Kraschnewski, strength-building exercises not only help strengthen muscles, which enhances stamina and balance, but also increase bone density.
If you’re over 50 and you’ve never done strength training before, it’s never too late to start. Just don’t forget to seek a doctor’s advice first to be on the safe side as there are may be exercise programs dependent on your body and health condition.