The idea that exercise is good for you is certainly not new – exercise has been shown time and time again to lower your risk of heart disease, can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress and more. .
While the benefits of aerobic exercise like spinning, swimming and running are often what come to mind first, a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that weightlifting ― when combined with the recommended amount of aerobic exercise ― has serious health benefits, too.
For the study, the recommended amount of aerobic exercise was defined as current fitness guidelines, which state that adults should do at least two days of strength training each week and should participate in 150 minutes of activity. moderate aerobic exercise (such as gardening, brisk walking, or dancing). ) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running, swimming, or skipping). You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
The new study analyzed data from 99,713 adults over a 10-year period. At the start of the study, participants were asked how often they had lifted weights in the past 12 months. They had the choice between less than once a month, once to three times a month, once to twice a week or three to seven times a week.
The study found that people who met aerobic activity guidelines and lifted weights once or twice a week were associated with a 41% to 47% reduction in all-cause mortality compared to people who weren’t exercising, according to CNN. People who only met guidelines for aerobic activity but did not lift weights had a 32% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
Additionally, those who lifted weights but did not engage in aerobic fitness saw up to a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality, CNN reported.
Additionally, those who lifted weights saw a 15% lower risk of dying from cancer, Medical News Today reported. Although aerobic activity also reduced the risk of death from cancer, this mortality risk was not further reduced when weightlifting was combined with aerobic activity.
A few caveats to keep in mind: Participants didn’t share the weight they lifted or the number of sets or reps they performed, so it’s unclear if these factors contributed. played in the beneficial results. Additionally, the average age of study participants was 71, so it’s unclear whether weightlifting has a similar benefit on younger people.
Beyond a reduced risk of premature death, weightlifting also has other benefits.
According to Katie Gould, trainer and owner of KG Strong in Philadelphia, “strength training is one of the best tools to get out of pain, as long as you do it with good technique and proper alignment.”
By lifting weights, you’re strengthening muscles that were likely weak to begin with and may be the underlying cause of the pain, she told HuffPost.
Another benefit of weightlifting may seem simple enough, but it’s actually a big deal: you get stronger. Gould noted that many of his clients are thrilled with being able to properly and safely move items like the sofa or bed.
And with new strength comes increased confidence, Gould noted — and she’s witnessed that confidence in her clients inside and outside the gym.
Do strength exercises that involve your whole body
“It’s important to work all major muscle groups in the body – legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms,” said study lead author Jessica Gorzelitz. , an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Health and Human Physiology. of Iowa, told HuffPost. This way you will strengthen your body as a whole, not just a specific part of the body.
To start, Gould recommended that you commit to 30 minutes of weightlifting once a week with an eventual goal of two to three times a week. She stressed that your workout program should incorporate a range of exercises.
“A really good program is going to have a bilateral lower body pushing exercise – so think of a squat – [and] a bilateral lower body pulling exercise like a deadlift. And, really, you want at least one exercise that’s going to be one-sided, or one side dominant, like a lunge,” she said.
Gould said you should also make sure to focus on your upper body. Try incorporating an upper body push as a push-up and an upper body pull as a pull-up. Finally, make sure your workout targets your core. Gould noted that her favorite core exercises are Turkish outfits or a classic plank.
“You would do three sets for about eight to 12 reps depending on whether or not you use [weights]”, Gould said. If you’re doing bodyweight exercises (meaning no weights), you can try getting closer to 12 reps.
Before you start weightlifting, seek advice
“People may be unfamiliar with weightlifting and not know where to start. Our results suggest that some is better than none, and it’s okay to start slowly and progress as strength and confidence increase” , said Gorzelitz.
But improper form of weightlifting can lead to severe injury and pain, which is why Gould encouraged people to seek professional help before lifting barbells.
“My preferred choice is to go to a studio and do private or semi-private training,” she said. But, if you can’t do that, she added that many gyms offer virtual workouts where they’ll create a workout plan that’s ideal for you and your goals.
Plus, there are people online giving weightlifting advice. Gould recommended Girls Gone Strong, an online program that offers free, downloadable fitness guides. The program also shares technical tips on its Instagram account.
Gould said Perform Better is a great resource for general movement advice, as is Katie St. Clair Fitness. She noted that her own gym’s Instagram account also shares weightlifting tips.