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Exercising regularly with weights linked to lower risk of death

Summary: Regular strength-training exercise is associated with a reduced risk of death, a new study reports. Incorporating aerobic exercise with weight-based exercise adds to the protective effect.

Source: BMJ

Regular exercise with weights is linked to a lower risk of death from any cause except cancer, according to research in older adults published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

And ensuring a weekly exercise routine includes both weights and aerobic activities appears to have an additive effect, the findings suggest.

Current physical activity guidelines for all 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 an equal combination of both. generally referred to as MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity). activity).

It is also recommended that all adults incorporate activities that work all major muscle groups. Yet, although aerobic exercise is consistently associated with a lower risk of death, it’s unclear whether weight training might have similar effects.

To address this knowledge gap, researchers set out to separately and jointly assess the potential impact of exercise with weights and aerobic activities on the risk of death in older adults.

They relied on participants in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer (PLCO) screening trial. It began in 1993 and includes 154,897 men and women between the ages of 55 and 74 from 10 different cancer centers in the United States.

In 2006, 104,002 of the participants were also asked if they had exercised with weights in the past year and, if so, how often they had done so, under once a month to several times a week.

And they were asked about the frequency and duration of moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity over the past year.

Moderate intensity has been described as “activity in which you sweat lightly or increase your breathing and heart rate to moderately high levels” and vigorous activity as “activity intense enough to sweat or increase your breathing and heart rate to very high levels. ‘.

Four activity groups were generated based on total weekly minutes of MVPA: (1) inactive, 0 minutes; (2) insufficient aerobic MVPA, 1 to 149 minutes; (3) enough, 150+ minutes of moderate activity or an equivalent amount of vigorous activity; and (4) very active, 301 minutes or more of moderate activity or an equivalent amount of vigorous activity.

In total, responses from 99,713 people were included in the final analysis, of whom 28,477 died over an average of 9.5 years of follow-up. Their mean age at the start of the follow-up period was 71 years and their mean weight (BMI) was 27.8 kg/m2 which is defined as overweight.

Nearly 1 in 4 respondents (23%) said they had weightlifted; 16% said they exercised with weights regularly between one and six times a week. Almost a third (32%) were sufficiently aerobically active, meeting (24%) or exceeding (8%) MVPA guidelines.

Exercise with weights and aerobic MVPA were both independently associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, as well as cardiovascular disease, but not cancer.

Overall, training with weights in the absence of MVPA was associated with a 9-22% lower risk of death, depending on the amount: for example, using weights once or twice a week was associated with a 14% lower risk.

Similarly, among those who did not exercise with weights, aerobic MVPA was associated with a 24-34% lower risk of death from any cause compared to those who did not. said neither MVPA nor exercise with weights.

But the lowest risk of death was seen in those who reported engaging in both types of physical activity.

For example, the risk of death was 41-47% lower in those who reported reaching the highest recommended weekly MVPA levels and who exercised with weights once or twice a week than in those who were physically inactive.

Education, smoking, BMI, race and ethnicity did not significantly alter the observed associations, but gender did: the associations were stronger in women.

This is an observational study and as such cannot establish cause, in addition to which it relied on personal recall and included data from a single point in the time. Specific details on training intensity, training load, volume (sets and reps), and how long participants exercised with weights were not available, which may have influenced the results.

And ensuring a weekly exercise routine includes both weights and aerobic activities appears to have an additive effect, the findings suggest. Image is in public domain

The study focused only on weights, but there are other types of muscle-building exercises, the researchers say, citing calisthenics, which includes push-ups and squats; Pilates; and plyometric exercises, which include tuck jumps and burpees.

Using weights can make a body leaner: Total lean body mass is independently associated with a lower risk of death, the researchers explain their findings. And if it’s done in a gym, it could also be very sociable – another factor associated with a longer, healthier life.

“Our finding that mortality risk appeared to be lowest for those who participated in both types of exercise strongly supports current recommendations to engage in aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities,” they write.

“Older adults would likely benefit from adding weightlifting exercises to their physical activity routines,” they conclude.

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About this exercise and current longevity research

Author: BMJ Media Relations
Source: BMJ
Contact: BMJ Media Relations – BMJ
Image: Image is in public domain

Original research: Access closed.
Independent and Joint Associations of Weightlifting and Aerobic Activity with All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial” by Charles E Matthews et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine


Summary

Independent and Joint Associations of Weightlifting and Aerobic Activity with All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial

Goals

Moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity (MVPA) and muscle-strengthening exercises (MSE) are recommended, but the mortality benefits of weightlifting, a specific type of MSE, are limited.

Methods

In the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial, we used Cox proportional hazards regression to calculate hazard ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs for associations between weightlifting and mortality, adjusting for demographic, lifestyle, and behavioral risk factors. The sample included 99,713 adults who completed the follow-up questionnaire assessing weightlifting and were then followed up to 2016 to determine mortality (median 9, IQR 7.6 to 10.6 years).

Results

The mean age at the follow-up questionnaire was 71.3 (IQR 66–76) years, 52.6% female, with a mean body mass index of 27.8 (SD 4.9) kg/m2. Weightlifting was associated with a 9% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR=0.91 (95% CI 0.88 to 0.94)) and CVD mortality (0.91 (CI to 95% 0.86 to 0.97)) after adjusting for MVPA. Joint models found that adults who met MVPA aerobic recommendations but did not weightlift had a 32% lower risk of all-cause mortality (RR = 0.68 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.70)), while those who also reported weight lifting 1-2 times/week had a 41% lower risk (HR = 0.59 (95% CI 0.54 to 0.64) ), both compared to adults reporting no aerobic MVPA or weightlifting. Without adjustment for MVPA, weightlifting was associated with lower cancer mortality (HR=0.85 (95% CI 0.80 to 0.91)).

Conclusion

Weightlifting and MVPA were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and CVD, but not cancer mortality. Adults who met the recommended amounts of both types of exercise seemed to experience additional benefits.

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