Whether you lift weights as part of your PT training at Functional Fitness, or whether you visit us for Suspension classes that uses your own body weight, you'll be pleased to know that you are doing exactly the right thing to contribute towards a long and healthy life.
A recent US study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine** appears to show that activities which strengthen the muscles - like weightlifting - should be part of an older person's weekly exercise routine.
People doing both aerobic and muscle exercises were more likely to live longer than those who did just one or the other, the researchers found.
Both types of activity are recommended by the NHS, which advises adults over 65 to be physically active every day and do activities to improve strength, balance and flexibility at least twice a week. It also recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active.
We know that elevating the heart rate has positive, long-term health benefits, but less has generally been understood about the effects of weightlifting and other muscle strengthening activities.This study followed the exercise patterns of 150,000 people in their 60s and 70s and made these important findings (compared with people who were not active):
1. Doing weightlifting ALONE lowered the risk of dying (by any cause except cancer) by between 9 and 22%.
2. Doing aerobic exercise ALONE lowered the risk by between 24 and 34%. Examples of aerobic exercise, which gets the heart and lungs pumping, include brisk walking, running, cycling and swimming.
3. Participating in BOTH types of exercise lowered the risk by 47%
The study also found that women benefitted more from weightlifting than men. Muscle-strengthening exercises make the body leaner and the bones stronger, leading to a healthier life in old age.
The fact that mortality risk appeared to be lowest for those who participated in both types of exercise supports current recommendations to engage in both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Older adults would certainly benefit from adding muscle-strengthening activities, which can include:
Suspension training at F2 ☺
Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi at Walnut Grove
Lifting weights at F2 ☺
Working with resistance bands at F2
Exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges
Don't forget that household chores and activities such as gardening and carrying shopping also count !
** National Cancer Institute in Maryland, and the University of Iowa - "Independent and joint associations of weightlifting and aerobic activity with all cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality" published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Volume 56, Issue 22)