lifting weights helps you live longer

Pick up those dumbbells – it could save your life. A recent study has found that older adults who did strength training at least two times a week lived up to 46 per cent longer than those who didn’t, as well as reporting a 41 per cent lower risk of death from heart disease and 19 per cent lower risk of death from cancer.

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Centre and Columbia University tracked the activity of more than 30,000 over-65s from 1997 through till death, and found that while all physical activity positively impacted longevity, strength training had the greatest effect.

Unfortunately, however, not enough seniors are taking advantage of this type of exercise. “We need to identify more ways that we can help get people engaged in strength training so we can increase the number from just under 10 per cent to a much higher percentage of our older adults who are engaged in these activities,” researcher Dr Jennifer L. Kraschnewski said.

But you don’t need to be a former bodybuilder to make the most of strength training – anyone can do it, with or without equipment. In fact, according to Dr Kraschnewski, “older adults have the ability to achieve strength similar to those decades younger by engaging in simple strength training routines.” Click here for three easy weight exercises you can do at home, and read more about why these activities are so integral to overall health, fitness and wellbeing as you age.

Tell us in the comments below, do you regularly practice strength training? What exercises do you find most beneficial?

Related links:

The daily habit that can add years to your life

Why our perception of ageing needs an overhaul

10 seniors who shatter ageist stereotypes