Can lifting weights lead to longevity? According to recent research out of Japan, the answer is yes. A large-scale systematic review from the Department of Medicine and Science in Sports in Exercise at the Tohoku University looked at the association between muscle-strengthening activities and the risk of mortality in non-communicable diseases.
This review followed 16 different studies from around the world to determine if there was an association between muscle-strengthening activities and overall health.
Physical Activity as a Measurement of Health
Physical inactivity is a major health issue across the globe, leading to higher obesity rates and worsening health in many countries.
While physicians and scientists all over the world have always touted that exercise is healthy, this study looked specifically at muscle-strengthening exercise such as lifting weights or using resistance bands.
Aerobic exercise, or exercise that increases your heart rate, have been heavily studied for its health benefits in recent years. However, muscle-strengthening exercise is often pushed to the side as the lesser important variable.
This large scale study may change the way that physicians and scientists think about aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise in terms of health benefits.
Weight Lifting Benefits
Researchers found that muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a 10-17% lower risk of mortality from certain non-communicable diseases.
So what is a non-communicable disease? In simple terms, it’s a disease that isn’t contagious.
Examples of non-communicable diseases that researchers specifically studied includes cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Researchers found that approximately 30-60 minutes per week of muscle-strengthening activities could lead to a reduction in mortality. This means, that simply one weight lifting session per week could decrease your risk of mortality by up to 17% from the aforementioned diseases.
Incorporating Weight Lifting Into Your Weekly Routine
Like any new form of physical activity, it’s best start slow and easy, and then work your way up to harder and longer routines. Incorporating both aerobic and weight strengthening exercises into your weekly routine can help improve your overall physical and mental health.
If the gym intimidates you, then try a few exercises with free weights or even items you have around your home. Canned goods, books, and even milk jugs can act as the perfect weights for many exercises.