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9 May, 2018

Great news for those of you that hate cardio exercise, and just news for those that don’t. Recent research found that push ups and situps, or other strength exercises, could add years to your life according to a study of over 80,000 adults led by the University of Sydney.

That’s right, this study, the largest study to compare the mortality outcomes of different types of exercise, has found that people who did strength-based exercise had a 23% reduction in risk of premature death by any means, and a 31% reduction in cancer-related death.

Of course, we’ve known for some time that strength training has huge benefits into functional health as we age, but never has such research been carried out on how it impacts mortality.

“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling,” said Associate Professor Stamatakis.

“And assuming our findings reflect cause and effect relationships, it may be even more vital when it comes to reducing risk of death from cancer… Unfortunately, less than 19% of Australian adults do the recommended amount of strength-based exercise.”

“Our message to date has just been to get moving but this study prompts a rethink about, when appropriate, expanding the kinds of exercise we are encouraging for long-term health and wellbeing.”

Other key findings:

  • adherence to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) strength-promoting exercise guideline alone was associated with reduced risk of cancer-related death, however the adherence to the WHO’s aerobic activity guideline alone was not
  • adherence to the WHO’s strength-promoting exercise and aerobic guidelines combined was associated with a greater risk reduction in mortality than aerobic physical activity alone
  • there was no evidence of an association between strength-promoting exercise and cardiovascular disease mortality.

It seems that those that have long believed aerobic exercise was more important to their health than strength exercise, and perhaps only performed aerobic exercises for that reason, can feel more confident that a strength training regime will benefit them just as much. The kicker, as one might assume, is to incorporate both aerobic and strength to see the biggest mortality risk reduction.

To find out what you should be doing as part of your strength training, find yourself a personal trainer, or study everything you’ll need to know about fitness with the Certificate III and IV in Fitness.

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