You know working out is good for your health. Fitting a long run into your daily routine not only improves your mood and boosts your energy, but lowers your risk of things like heart disease or stroke. But if cardio is all you’re doing, it might be time to make a few changes. New research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that strength training is just as important—if not more—as aerobic training, and can add years to your life.
Researchers from the University of Sydney studied the association between strength training (using both gym machines and bodyweight) and death rates of all causes (cancer, heart disease, etc.) by using data from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health survey between 1994 and 2008. In total, more than 8,300 adults were surveyed.
They discovered that the risk of early death from any cause decreased 23 percent, and that the risk of cancer-related death decreased by 31 percent.
“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, lead author and associate professor at the university’s School of Public Health and the Charles Perkins Center, in a press release.
According to the World Health Organization’s physical activity guidelines, adults ages 18 to 64 should get 150 minutes of aerobic activity and two days of strength training every week.
“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,” Stamatakis said.
As we’ve reported in the past, strength training boosts your metabolism, burns tons of calories (you can burn 346 calories in a 13-minute, six-exercise resistance circuit), improves your overall joint mobility, and reduces your risk of injury.
So go on, start adding pushups, situps, planks, squats, and anything else you can think of into your routine. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
By Danielle Zickl