Wouldn’t it be great if we could live forever? Although science is finding ways to prolong life one day at a time, we have still a long way to go when it comes to immortality. We can’t live forever (yet), but the ongoing scientific research is constantly uncovering factors that can prolong or shorten our life. For example, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can increase the risk of dying early, whereas exercising regularly and eating healthy can help us live longer.
A recent study has offered a simple recommendation to help reduce the risk of death – by 46 percent, in fact. It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you incorporate this habit into your life, you can very well reap the benefits.
Lifting weights as you age cuts the risk of death by 46 percent
The researchers from Penn State College of Medicine found that strength training as you age reduces the risk of death. The study surveyed participants over the age of 65 about their exercise habits and tracked them for 15 years.
Of the group, less than 10 percent strength trained and yet that small group saw the biggest reduction in death by up to 46 percent.
Even after adjusting for body mass index, chronic conditions, and other lifestyle habits like drinking and smoking, weight lifting was still associated with a 19 percent reduction of death.
Study author Jennifer Kraschnewski explained that strength training in a person’s senior years not only improves strength, stamina, and balance, but also increases bone density. With all these benefits combined, seniors have greater protection against falls and fractures, which can contribute to disability and disease. Furthermore, having greater muscle mass helps seniors maintain a healthy weight, which is an integral part of health, as being overweight or obese is tied to numerous chronic health conditions.
Still think you’re too old to begin strength training? You can talk to your doctor about how you can begin a strength training program and enlist the help of a trainer who can set up a plan to start off slow and work your way up.
Dr. Kraschnewski added, “Older adults have the ability to achieve strength similar to those decades younger by engaging in simple strength training routines.”
No matter how old you are, it’s not too late to get yourself into a healthy strength training routine as a means of reducing your risk of early death.
Related: Poor fitness second only to smoking as early death predictor