Skeletal muscle cells produce cytokines (myokines) that may help to fight inflammation and maintain normal body function. In a paper published 2016, US investigators found that among a large cohort of adults aged 65 or older, all-cause mortality was significantly lower among individuals who performed regular strength training (13). The Journal of the American Heart Association found that 150 minutes of strength training per week is particularly helpful for women (though it’s debatable whether more is actually helpful). Unfortunately, most adults, particularly older adults, as this study showed, don’t strength train. It is usually performed by a Jamar hydraulic dynamometer which can measure isometric grip force with excellent reliability and reproducibility (6). However, just like other cohort studies, this study has limited ability to determine cause and effect. Over a median follow-up of four years, low grip strength was associated with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, non-cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Those who DID enjoyed a surprising benefit – a lower risk of dying over the course of the study. Can a Power Packed 10-Minute Short Workout Equal a 45 Minute One. Obviously, randomized trials on the effects of strength training on mortality are difficult to perform. The existed studies failed to show that low muscular strength was predictive of cancer mortality. Pretty impressive, huh? Strength training also improves blood sugar control in diabetics. Research shows as little as 16 weeks of strength training improves markers of insulin sensitivity. 2007; 4(1): 19-27. Overall, the findings provide compelling rationales for developing interventions and policies to improve muscular strength and reduce excess adiposity to minimize mortality risk. In fact, a new study carried out at Penn State College of Medicine showed older adults who strength train have a lower risk of dying early. The Possible Mechanisms Behind the Effects of Strength Training, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) – An Update, Tennis Elbow and Golf Elbow – Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis, Things to Consider Before Taking (or Prescribing) Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Zinc and its Role for Human Health – The Research Based Evidence, Dapagliflozin and Vericiguat – Two Novel Therapies for Heart Failure. What’s discouraging is only 9% of the adults in this study strength trained at least twice a week. Your time might be better spent dividing your time between cardio and strength training. Your email address will not be published. If they do any exercise at all, they walked at a moderate pace. Should we walk, jog, lift weights or all of those? Although excess adiposity per se presents a substantial risk of mortality, the risk associated with excess adiposity was reduced, although not completely eliminated, through greater grip strength. But, if you read my work, you are likely interested in training longevity, so take heed: I started lifting weights in 1965. Muscle training must be balanced to avoid both acute injuries and the slow, chronic damage that comes with ignoring pain and continuing to put stress on an injured joint. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recognized physical inactivity as one of the leading global risk factors for morbidity and premature mortality (3). That’s why movement matters. Another interesting observation – a 2009 study showed a link between muscle strength and lower death rates due to cancer in men. For years, these people wouldn’t consider lifting weights. Published online 2006 Dec 18. What type of exercise is most likely to improve our health? Only 9 percent of people reported strength training at least twice a week (come on people!). It’s no secret that you lose muscle and strength at a more rapid pace after the age of 50. Hence, the role of physical exercise for the treatment of obesity should not be downplayed (11). © 2020 Doc's Opinion • All rights reserved. Low grip strength was a stronger predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure. The authors of this highly interesting paper make three important conclusions: The association between grip strength and mortality does not provide proof that strength training improves health and longevity. Strength training may also reduce insulin resistance and improve blood pressure and blood lipids. Epub 2009 Apr 14. Participants in the study were assessed for grip strength. However, several questions remain. Even after the researchers controlled for healthy lifestyle habits and diet, mortality was lower. Another way strength training helps protect against an early death is by helping you stay functional and less prone to injury as you age. Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 243958, 9 pages. With that in mind, every longevity-focused workout program should be made up of three things: cardio, strength, and flexibility or mobility training. One possible way strength training may protect against an early death is by improving insulin sensitivity. It could be that guys and gals who are inherently stronger are less likely to die early – but it’s an interesting observation. Again, you have to consider other factors that could account for this association, one of which is body fat percentage. Don’t forget, strength training also preserves the health of your bones, as long as you’re lifting at 80% of your one-rep max or greater. The findings from the PURE study certainly suggest that skeletal muscle function is an important component of health, aging, and longevity. Hey, your legs are sore after you hit up your go-to spin class—that totally counts as strength training, right? Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that strength training itself increases longevity. You can go as far back as nineteen fifty three to find studies that support these facts. Hence, myokines may contribute to exercise-induced protection against several chronic diseases (15). Hence, it was proposed that a sedentary lifestyle increased the risk of heart disease. Obese individuals with greater muscle strength have lower risks of mortality, independent of adiposity. In addition, research shows physical activity reduces all-cause mortality by 35%. As you age, cells respond less to the insulin your pancreas produces. Of course, there is data showing a strong association between excess adiposity and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and early mortality (9). It has been suggested that grip strength might act as a biomarker of aging across the life course (8). Physical activity has also been shown to improve mental health. Hence, older adults who perform strength training not only improve their physical condition, but their survival rate is improved as well. 2009 Oct-Dec;9(4):186-97. When you have strong muscles, you don’t suffer the effects of frailty as you age and you’re less prone towards falls. Strength training may also improve cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, blood lipids and insulin resistance. Simply put, as your insulin sensitivity drops, you become more prone towards weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.