Lifting Weights May Actually Help You Live Longer

It should come as no surprise that regular exercise is good for your health.

Everyone from our parents to doctors have been telling us that we should be getting more exercise for years, since most of us don’t get nearly enough.

However, the prevailing recommendation is that we should focus on cardiovascular exercise primarily – activities like running, walking, cycling, and swimming.

Weight lifting, on the other hand, was thought to be more of a vanity pursuit: good for building big muscles, but not so much for helping us live longer, healthier lives.

Well, a recent study from the University of Sydney, specifically focused on weight lifting, has demonstrated that people who engage in regular strength training have a reduced risk of dying from cancer, and also from a variety of cardiovascular issues (like heart attacks and strokes).

What’s more, the evidence from the study suggests that there is a reduced risk of “all-cause mortality” with regular weight training – which means death from any cause, not just cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

The study itself was conducted with a very large sample size of roughly 80,000 adults, over the age of 30, using data from 1994-2008.

It also accounted for differences in lifestyle factors, health, age, and diet, in order to be as accurate as possible. To give a clearer sense of the specific findings, the data revealed that people who engaged in regular strength training had a 31% lower risk of dying from cancer, and a 21% reduction in risk of dying prematurely in general, which is quite significant indeed!

What’s also interesting is that the study found that weight training might be just as beneficial, from cardiovascular standpoint, as traditional cardio exercise – and that people who engaged in both weight training and cardio exercise saw the greatest reduction in risk.

And while this is of course just one study, it definitely suggests that strength training might be something to consider for a much wider segment of the population – not just those of us who are primarily concerned with building more muscle recreationally.

So, if you’re already lifting weights regularly, then the evidence from this study suggests that you should continue doing what you’re doing – striving to make strength training a lifelong habit for yourself.

However, if you’re not already involved in strength training, then now would be a perfect time to start!

If you’re a beginner, without much experience, then we’d recommend potentially getting yourself a personal trainer, at least initially. They’ll be able to put together a suitable weight lifting program for you, and show you how to perform each exercise correctly.

However, if a regular personal trainer isn’t within your budget, there there is also the option of working with a personal trainer online, like Caliber Fitness, which focuses primarily on strength training and helping people improve their overall body composition.

Working with an online personal trainer is a lot cheaper than working with one in person, so this is a great option if you’re on more of a budget but would still like some guidance as you develop a weight training routine.

Also, strength training is very beneficial for women as well, and won’t make you develop big, bulky muscles if done correctly. Rather, it will help you feel much stronger day to day, while also helping to build lean, toned muscles over time.

So, even if you have never been a ‘gym’ person, or lifted weights in your life, don’t be put off from getting started with strength training. Just like anything, it will take some practice before you feel proficient – but in time you’ll undoubtedly reap countless benefits from it.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.