Research Spotlight: Lifting weights can help you to live longer

Lifting weights
Reading Time   

A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that weightlifting can help to reduce mortality.

Both the Australian and American Physical Activity guidelines recommend adults complete both aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities during the week. Both guidelines state that adults should complete 150–300min/week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75–150min/week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity AND muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

Although both aerobic and muscle strengthening activity are recommended for health benefits, most research has focused on the effects of aerobic activity on health and mortality. Of the research that does look at muscle strengthening activity, the definition of muscle strengthening activity can vary and researchers were interested in looking at the benefits of weightlifting in particular.

Background of the study:
Researchers followed 100,000 individuals between ages of 55 – 75 years old. Researchers asked the study participants to fill out questionnaires based on their activity levels in 1993 and followed up 13 years later in 2006 with another questionnaire to see the health outcomes and current activity levels among the group. The study was updated often with mortality data until December 2016.

Study findings:
The study found that individuals who met the physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity alone had a 32% reduction in all-cause mortality rate and individuals who participated in weightlifting 1-2 per week without any aerobic activity had a 20% lower rate.

Importantly, the study found that those who participated in both aerobic activity and weightlifting had the highest reduction in mortality rate, at 41%.

In addition, on their own, both weightlifting and aerobic activity were associated with lower cardiovascular disease mortality.

Overall, this study is a great resource for the entire Kieser community as it shows the benefits of strength training 1 – 2 times per week can have on reducing your risk mortality.

Gorzelitz J, Trabert B, Katki HA, et al 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 British Journal of Sports Medicine 2022;56:1277-1283