For Longevity, How Important is Muscle Strength?

While aerobic exercise has long taken the lead in physical activity guidelines, researchers are finding that biceps curls and bench presses might be equally important for health and longevity. Strength training — exercise that increases muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force (such as gravity) — was added to the 2010 Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health.

In a recent meta-analysis combining 16 studies and data from over 1.5 million subjects, muscle-strengthening activities were associated with almost a 20 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, lung cancer and all-cause mortality.

“Strength training confers a host of health benefits independent of aerobic exercise,” said Daniel J. McDonough, a researcher at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and co-author of a large study that looked at the effect of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise on mortality. Adding some muscle also improves physical fitness and bone mineral density and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Excerpted from The Washington Post

Read Full Article