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Lifting weights makes you live longer! Fascinating new study, 2022

That’s right: lifting weights will make you live longer. That’s according to a new meta-study out of Japan, which analysed the results of 16 major studies into the effects of lifting weights on health.

The researchers also examined what the “optimal” dose of lifting weights might look like, and discovered that as little as 30 minutes a week is enough to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer by up to 20%.

When combined with aerobic exercise the risk can drop by as much as 40 percent.

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Lifting weights: gains all round!

The researchers used research databases to find observational studies where adults without major health issues had been monitored for anywhere between two and 25 years. 

They took 16 studies, the earliest of which was published ten years ago. Most of them were carried out in the U.S., with the rest taking place in the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

The participants in the studies were aged between 18 and 97. The number of people taking part in each study ranged from around 4,000 to almost 500,000. Of the studies, 12 included both men and women, two included men only while three included women only. All of the studies considered the effects of both aerobic forms of exercise such as running and strength training.

The meta-analysis showed that strength training was linked to a lower risk of death from any cause, and especially from heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and lung cancer.

No link was discovered between muscle training and some forms of cancer such as bowel, kidney, bladder and pancreatic cancer.

The best results were achieved after 30 to 60 minutes of strength training.

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The researchers also discovered that adding in aerobic exercise to a strength training routine put individuals at an even lower risk from all causes of death, heart disease and cancer. People who did both were at a 40 percent lower risk from all causes of death, a 46 percent lower risk from heart disease and a 28 percent lower risk from cancer.

“The combination of muscle strengthening and aerobic activities may provide a greater benefit for reducing all-cause, cardiovascular disease and total cancer mortality,” the authors write. “Given that the available data are limited, further studies—such as studies focusing on a more diverse population—are needed to increase the certainty of the evidence.”

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