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Strength Training as Important for Overall Health as Aerobic Exercise

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and two days of strength training per week, but many physician recommendations focus mainly on aerobic activity. A recent study suggests that strength training may be as important for health, and for all cause mortality, as aerobic exercise.


Participants in the study included 80,306 people who took part in the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey. All of the participants were cancer and cardiovascular disease-free at the onset of the study. Participants who passed away within the first two years were excluded in order to weed out preexisting conditions. The study was observational and the researchers took age, sex, health status, lifestyle behaviors, and education level into account.


After examining the data, the researchers found that performing any strength training was associated with a 23% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 31% reduction in cancer mortality. Bodyweight exercises were as effective as weight training in the gym. They also found that adherence to the WHO’s strength training guidelines were associated with reductions in cancer-related death, but adherence to the WHO’s aerobic exercise guidelines was not. In addition, combining the two had a greater effect on mortality than aerobic exercise alone. No association was found between strength training and death from cardiovascular disease.


Researchers from the University of Sydney conducted the study. It was published on October 31, 2017, in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise may help with blood sugar control, body weight reduction, improved heart health, improved respiratory health and reduced risk of dying prematurely.

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