Strength Linked to Longer Life

Strength Linked to Longer Life
Get strong if you want to live longer. Most exercise recommendations mention muscle strength as an afterthought. Aerobic exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system, protects the heart and blood vessels from disease, and reduces the risk of heart attack and heart-related sudden death. A 19-year long study of 8,762 men age 20 to 80 conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that men with the highest levels of strength were less likely to die each year from heart disease, cancer, or any other cause. The men received medical exams and physical fitness tests during the 1980s and their status was reevaluated nearly 20 years later. Greater strength reduced the risk of death from all causes by 32 percent, 50 percent from heart attack and 32 percent from cancer compared to the weakest one-third of the men. Increasing strength might make you live longer and increase the quality of life. Weight training should not be a substitute for aerobic exercise— you should do both. (British Medical Journal, 337: a439)

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