- Muscle strengthening exercises are associated with lower risk of mortality.
- 30-60 mins/week of muscle strengthening exercises provide the maximum risk reduction for mortality.
What are the different types of exercises?
Cardio & strength exercises
There are several categories of exercises, most commonly known are aerobic and strength exercise. Aerobic exercises refer to activities that increase your breathing and heart rate. Alternatively, they are known as cardio. Some examples include running, brisk walking, and cycling. On the other hand, strength exercises refer to activities that make your muscles work against resistance such as weight or a force.
Good exercise for a healthier living?
When asked about exercising for a healthier living, common responses you will hear are suggestions to do more cardio. But what about strength training? What is the significance of muscle strengthening activities in leading a healthier life? Should you do more strength training?
Myths about strength training
Let’s start by debunking some myths that surround muscle strengthening.
Myth 1: Strength training will make me look bulky
Debunked: Strength training can actually help decrease body fat and increase lean weight. The increase in lean weight may cause those numbers on the weighing scale to go up, but this is because muscle weighs more than fat.
With the right training programme for you, your strength gains should not make you look bulky.
Myth 2: The elderly should avoid strength training for their safety
Debunked: It is inevitable that our bodies will change as we age. Older adults often hear terms such as “falls-risk” or “bad joints”, and thus choose to avoid physical activity out of fear of injury. However, studies have shown the positive effects of strength training in reducing falls and improving bone density, which in turn increases self-confidence and independence, improving the quality of life.
Therefore, a targeted strength training programme for the elderly should be considered instead so that they may lead a higher quality of life.
Now then, what can strength training do for you?
The significance of muscle strengthening
Based on the review of studies looking at the association of muscle strengthening and mortality, it concludes that participation in strength training exercises lowered the risk of all-cause mortality and non-communicable diseases like heart diseases and cancer.
But to what extent? Warning: technical content ahead!
|Non-communicable disease||Muscle strengthening alone||Combine with aerobic exercise|
In short, based on evidence, strength training between 40 to 140 mins per week is able to lower the risk of all-cause mortality and non-communicable diseases, and aerobic exercises further enhance the benefits of muscle strengthening activities.
This is thus reflected in the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, which state that we should be doing muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week in addition to 150-300 min/week of aerobic exercise.
Just don’t overdo it when you’re starting out!
Unsure how to get started safely? Contact us to speak to our Physiotherapist who will be able to help you plan for a safe introduction towards strengthening and achieving a healthier you!
DISCLAIMER: These advices should not replace the need for a consultation with a Physiotherapist especially if your condition doesn’t improve. Therapeutic exercise should be carefully selected to suit your condition.
Ebben, W., & Jensen, R. (1998). Strength Training for Women. The Physician And Sportsmedicine, 26(5), 86-97. https://doi.org/10.3810/psm.1998.05.1020
Momma, H., Kawakami, R., Honda, T., & Sawada, S. (2022). Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. British Journal Of Sports Medicine, 56(13), 755-763. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-105061
Seguin, R. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine, 25(3), 141-149. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0749-3797(03)00177-6