Benefits of strength training
Most of the medical recommendations regarding exercise refer mainly to aerobic exercise, what we call cardio: walking, running, cycling or even swimming have shown again and again to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, mainly, but also about health in general, and with it about our life expectancy.
In comparison, strength training has received much less scientific attention so far, and less was known about its effect on our life expectancy.
So far: a recent study by the University of Sydney conducted on 8,000 adult volunteers reveals that doing simple strength exercises such as push-ups or squats without added weight reduces the risk of premature death from any cause by 23% and the risk of death by 31% for causes related to cancer.
No gym needed: train at home with your weight
“This study shows that exercise that promotes muscle strength can be as important to health as aerobic activities such as running or riding a bike,” explains one of the researchers. “And if we assume that our results show a cause-effect relationship, they can be even more important if we want to reduce the risk of death from cancer.”
The study also shows that strength exercises done with our own body weight, such as push-ups, sit-ups and squats, without the need for more equipment, are as effective as those that can be done in a gym.
This is important for people who feel intimidated by the idea of going to the gym or have no possibility to pay for them, because it shows that you can get the same benefits by training at home or in the park.
Cardio and strength are better than just cardio abdominal-strength training
This is the summary of the main conclusions of this study:
- Participating in any activity that enhances muscle strength is associated with a 23% reduction in mortality from any cause and 31% from cancer mortality.
- Exercises done with one’s own body weight and done in any flirt without special equipment has effects comparable to those performed in the gym.
- Following WHO recommendations on strength exercises is only associated with a reduction in the risk of death from cancer. Follow only the recommendations on aerobic exercise, no.
- Following WHO recommendations on both strength training and aerobic exercise is associated with an even greater reduction in mortality than following only recommendations on physical activity.
- No evidence of a relationship between strength exercises and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases has been found.