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Researchers found that adults who did only weightlifting but no aerobic exercise had a 9 to 22 percent lower mortality risk from all causes, with a similar result for heart-disease deaths.
Those who took part in regular weight sessions were found to have a 14 percent lower risk of death, while for adults who undertook aerobic activity the figure rose to 32 percent.
But those who did both – meeting aerobic activity guidelines and weightlifting at least once or twice a week – were found to have a 41 to 47 percent reduced risk of dying.
Some 100,000 adults, with an average age of 71, took part in the research led by America’s National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland.
Publishing their findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study authors said: “Lower all-cause mortality was observed in older adults doing either aerobic or weightlifting exercise, but the lowest mortality risk was seen among adults who reported both types of exercise.
“The weightlifting-associated mortality benefit shown here provides initial evidence to clinicians and other health professionals that older adults would probably benefit from adding weightlifting exercises to activity routines.”
Few studies have looked at the importance of weightlifting and early death risk.
Adults are urged by the NHS to take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.
In addition, they are encouraged to do “strengthening activities” at least two days a week.
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