S u m m a r y :
Strength-based exercise like push ups and sit ups can prolong your life, says a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Do More Push Ups & Sit Ups
The benefits of physical exercise are no secret to us. The human body is made in such a way that it has to ‘keep moving’ to maintain its health given the great harm associated with a sedentary life. A growing body of research has been documenting the positive effects of physical activity together with the drawbacks of its absence, and a new paper shines the light on exercise like push ups and sit ups specifically: the two can add years to your life, say the researchers, a team from the University of Sydney.
Build More Strength, Reduce Mortality!
The study is the largest to have compared the mortality outcomes of different types of exercise; the data analysed spanned over 80,000 people. The results show that strength-based exercise, such as push ups and sit ups, decreases the risk of premature death by any cause by 23%, and cancer-related death by 31%.
Also as lead author Emmanuel Stamatakis points out, little research has investigated the impact of this type of physical activity on mortality; he concludes that strength-promoting exercise may be similar to aerobic activities in terms of the health benefits.
“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling,” says Stamatakis.
“And assuming our findings reflect cause and effect relationships, it may be even more vital when it comes to reducing risk of death from cancer.”
Aerobics vs Strength Exercise
As per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), the weekly recommendation for adults includes 150 minutes of aerobics with 2 days dedicated to muscle-strengthening exercise. However, Stamatakis believes that public health authorities have failed to promote strength-based exercise, thereby misrepresented the level of activity in the Australian community: inactivity is at 53% in The Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey whereby aerobic activity alone was used as benchmark while this figure spirals down when the WHO strength-based guidelines are considered, showing that 85% of Australians do not meet the recommendations.
“Our message to date has just been to get moving but this study prompts a rethink about, when appropriate, expanding the kinds of exercise we are encouraging for long-term health and wellbeing,” says Stamatakis.
You Don’t Have to Go to the Gym!
Also, going to the gym is not required to reap these benefits.
“When people think of strength training they instantly think of doing weights in a gym, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” explains the author.
“Many people are intimidated by gyms, the costs or the culture they promote, so it’s great to know that anyone can do classic exercises like triceps dips, sit-ups, push-ups or lunges in their own home or local park and potentially reap the same health benefits.”