Perhaps a long life isn’t just down to genetics, nor is it down to just what you eat or whether you lead a healthy lifestyle. The secret to living longer could actually be down to lifting weights regularly (and that doesn’t mean they have to be the heaviest weights), but it doesn’t have to be massive weights. According to a medical study carried out at the Penn State College of Medicine in the USA, if you want to live longer, then it is simply down to sessions of strength training on a regular basis. The study’s findings tell us that weight lifting or resistance training reduces risk for early death. Here’s the study: PSU Study
How the Study Worked
The study was carried out on a selection of older men and women (aged 65 plus). It examined their working out regimes, tracking their results over a fifteen year period. During that period, 1/3 of those involved in the study passed away. Only 10% of those involved weight-trained, however, the results showed that they were 46% less likely to die during the study. Even more interesting was that those that weight-trained regularly and had conditions such as hypertension and diabetes – even combined with drinking and smoking – still had a 19% reduction in risk of dying because of their workout routine. Of course, that doesn’t mean that drinking beer and smoking is ok! What the results do show is that regular resistance training as you get age helps to reduce premature death risk and keep your vital organs stronger than if you do not lift weights at all.
There is no doubt that keeping your body fit and active as you age does give you better overall health and wellbeing. Weight-training certainly keeps the joints and muscles strong because as you age, your joints lose flexibility and you lose muscle mass. By lifting weights on a regular basis in line with your fitness, your body retains stamina and balance (also reducing the risk of accidental falling). Not only that, weight baring or resistance exercise can also improve bone density, helping to prevent fractures. Note: Unless stimulated bone density tends to start decreasing after the age of 30.
There’s also the fat loss aspect. By lifting weights regularly, not only does muscle mass improve, it also helps to burn more calories so the result is a trimmer, leaner frame.
So, if you already do resistance training like body weight exercises, weight training or ideally a combination, that’s great, but if you don’t, after taking advice from a medical professional, it could be time to start resistance training and get on board to a longer, healthier life. It’s important not to thing of age as a barrier. As long as you’re Doctor says you can exercise, you can start small, keep pushing yourself and building incrementally. Even if it’s just adding an extra rep or an extra 1lb of weight every couple of weeks. It doesn’t matter, the key thing is to keep building and who knows you may just live a long fit life!