Lifting weights can help you live longer, especially combined with cardio, new research suggests
- Combining strength training with regular cardio may help you live longer, a new study finds.
- Weight lifting or other strength training once or twice a week can build muscle and prevent injury.
If you want to live a long, healthy life, a combination of weight lifting and cardio in your workout routine may be best, new research suggests.
Regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of early death, and so does strength training, but doing both seems to offer additional benefits, according to a study published September 27 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute looked at data from nearly 100,000 older adults from across the United States, comparing exercise habits and risk of dying from chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease, as well as other causes, over a decade of follow up.
They found that participants who did 150-300 minutes a week of aerobic exercise were, on average, 32% less likely to die from any cause during the study.
Resistance training, such as weight lifting, was linked to 9% lower mortality rates.
But participants who did both resistance training once or twice a week, as well as cardio, had 41% lower mortality rates. And for people who not only lifted weights, but also did more than 300 minutes a week of cardio, their mortality rates were up to 47% lower than their sedentary peers.
The findings suggest that if you're not active, you should get some exercise, and if you're active but only do cardio, you may want to start lifting weights, too.
The researchers hypothesized that strength training was linked to benefits like more lean muscle mass and strength, which can help stave off diseases and also prevent falls and other injuries.
Exercise also has social and psychological benefits too, creating a community and offering a sense of accomplishment and stress relief, the study authors wrote.
Both strength training and cardio have health benefits, previous research shows
There's plenty more evidence that all types of physical activity are great for your health.
A study from February found that as little as 30-60 minutes of strength training a week could reduce the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease, and adding aerobic exercise was even more effective.
Strength training can also boost weight loss, which research suggests can help prevent certain illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
To maximize the benefits of strength training and build muscle, it's important to lift a challenging amount of weight, increase intensity over time, and focus on good recovery like eating and sleeping enough, experts previously told Insider.
Major benefits of cardio or aerobic exercises include better blood flow, blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall heart health, as well as improved mood. You don't have to run to get your cardio workout in, either — any activity that raises your heart rate for a sustained period of time, including some types of weight lifting, count as cardio.
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