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Training with weights regularly decreases the risk of mortality

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Training with weights regularly decreases the risk of mortality

Training with weights regularly decreases the risk of mortality from all causes (except cancer). And if you add aerobic activity to the weekly routine in the weight room, the benefits are even greater. So concluded the researchers from the University of Iowa who conducted a study just published on the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The Physical Activity Guidelines

Current physical activity guidelines for adults recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of the two, usually referred to as MVPA. moderate to vigorous). It is also recommended to perform exercises that work on all major muscle groups.

The effects of movement on mortality risk

However, while aerobic exercise has often been associated with a lower risk of death, it was still unclear whether weight training could have similar effects. That’s why researchers at the University of Iowa’s Department of Physiology decided to assess separately and then together the potential impact of weight training and aerobic activities on the risk of death among the elderly.

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The elderly are under scrutiny

To do so, they drew on data from participants in screening (starting in 1993) for prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer for a total of 154,897 men and women aged 55-74 from 10 different cancer centers in the United States. In 2006, 104,002 participants were also asked if, in the past year, they had trained with weights and, if so, how often they had, from less than once a month to several times a week.

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Moderate and intense physical activity

The researchers also asked patients to specify the frequency and duration of both moderate and intense physical activity. Moderate intensity has been described as “activity in which you sweat lightly or increase your breathing and heart rate to moderately high levels” and intense intensity as “activity that is hard enough to sweat or increase your breathing and heart rate to very high levels. elevated “.

Weights that extend the life

Weight-bearing exercise and aerobic activity were both associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, as well as from cardiovascular disease, but not from cancer. Overall, training with weights alone (without aerobic activity) was associated with a 9-22% lower risk of death, depending on frequency: for example, using weights once or twice a week was associated with a risk. 14% lower. Similarly, among those who did not exercise with weights, aerobic training (moderate to intense) was associated with a 24-34% lower risk of death from any cause, compared to those who did not engage in any physical activity. .

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Weights + aerobics = less risk of mortality

But the lowest risk of death was found among those who said they had both types of physical activity. For example, the risk of death was 41-47% lower among those who claimed to perform aerobic training as per the Guidelines recommendations and who also exercised with weights once or twice a week compared to those who were physically inactive. . Education level, smoking, Body Mass Index, race and ethnicity did not significantly change the results, but sex did: the associations between type of activity and mortality risk were more evident in the women.

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More lean mass and socialization

What is the reason for this result? Researchers note that the use of weights makes the body leaner and that lean mass is associated with a lower risk of death. Furthermore, if weight training is done in the gym, it could also be an opportunity for socialization, another factor associated with a longer and healthier life. “Seniors would likely benefit from adding weight lifting exercises to their physical activity routines,” says Jessica Gorzelitz of the University of Iowa’s Department of Human Physiology and lead author of the study.

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Although this is an observational study and does not take into account the load used in the exercises, the number of sets and repetitions performed, the results can be useful to reinforce the preventive role of movement: “Our discovery that the risk of mortality is lower for those who train with both types of exercises – explains Jessica Gorzelitz – it can be a precious support to the current recommendations that invite to engage in both aerobic and muscle strengthening activities “.

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