Strength Training May Lower Early Death Risk

Here is a summary of a recent article published in Medical News Today talking about the many benefits of strength training!


A new study from the University of Sydney in Australia suggests that exercises that promote muscular strength may be just as important for maintaining health as aerobic exercise. In fact, they may help lower the risk of all-cause and cancer-related death.

Strength-building exercises, such as weight lifting, push-ups, and squats, can sometimes seem less attractive than aerobic activities — such as running, swimming, or cycling — because they are more intense and demanding.

Additionally, aerobic exercise has received many accolades over the years, as numerous studies pointed out its various health benefits, including improved executive functioning and cardiovascular fitness.

Recently, however, more researchers are turning their attention to strength-focused workouts, investigating how they relate to health and well-being.

A new study from the University of Sydney, led by Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis —associate professor in the School of Public Health and the Charles Perkins Centre — suggests that strength exercises are just as important as aerobics, and they may even be tied with a reduced risk of all-cause and cancer-related death.

The study's findings were recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Strength training tied to lower death risk

Dr. Stamatakis and colleagues' study analyzed data sourced from a core population sample of 80,306 adults aged 30 years and over. The information came from the Health Survey for England, as well as the Scottish Health Survey, and it was supplemented with data from the NHS Central Mortality Register.

Although this was an observational study, the researchers ensured that the results would be consistent by adjusting for confounding variables, including age, biological sex, overall health condition, educational levels, and lifestyle-related behaviours.

Participants with a previously diagnosed cardiovascular disease or cancer, as well as participants who died within the first 2 years of the study were excluded from the analysis.

Dr. Stamatakis and team found that individuals who engaged in strength exercises had a 23 percent lower risk of death by all causes, and a 31 percent lower risk of cancer-related death.

"The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling," explains Dr. Stamatakis.

It is not yet clear if the relationship is causal, but the researchers think that these findings are enough to warrant more encouragement for people to practice strength workouts.

"[A]ssuming our findings reflect cause and effect relationships," Dr Stamatakis adds, "it [strength training] may be even more vital when it comes to reducing risk of death from cancer."