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Pump Up Your Lifespan With Strength Training

By Chris Brown

We all have heard the common rhetoric about the importance of aerobic exercise on health. However, regular strength training may be as effective, if not more so, at helping people live long, healthy lives. Strength training's benefits for longevity have been particularly studied in recent years and the findings have been highly positive. Strength training is effective at not only helping people live longer, but also at maintaining functionality and health into their elder years.

Why Strength Train Over Aerobic Exercise for Longevity?

According to Dr. Robert Schreiber, a Harvard Medical School instructor, aerobic exercise alone is simply not enough to maintain functionality with age. This is because the average 30-year-old loses a quarter of their muscle mass by age 70. Strength training is the only way to maintain the valuable muscle that keeps one fully active and alert in later life. Additionally, strength training activates functions of the body that directly relate to longer life spans.

How Strength Training Influences Longevity

Strength training's influences upon longevity are based upon the range of bodily functions it impacts. Strength training supports longevity in several ways.

Reducing myostatin - Weightlifting naturally reduces a circulating hormone called myostatin. An experiment that reduced myostatin in mice found that their life spans increased by 15 percent. While this isn't directly applicable to humans, the reduction of this hormone may translate to some degree of greater aging.

Lowering long-term BMI better than aerobic exercise - A 2014 comparison study between aerobic exercise and strength training found that weight training had the strongest association with decreased waist circumference. Lowered weight is well associated with longevity according to many studies.

Reversing skeletal aging - In a 2011 study, resistance training was shown to reverse skeletal muscle aging in veteran athletes.

Decreasing cancer risk - A two decades-long study by the Cooper Institute found that the individuals with high levels of muscular strength had a 40 percent lower cancer mortality rate.

Enhancing brain function - Brain function is another area that tends to degrade as we age. Researchers at the University of Sydney found that only six months of strength training helped protect areas of the brain vulnerable to cognitive degeneration disorders and may even be able to halt brain function degeneration over a longer period.

Muscle strength increasingly matters as muscle mass is naturally lost with age. And strength training can help everything from rising from your favorite chair to waking sharp and lucid in the morning. So get lifting today for a better future tomorrow.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

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