Past studies have demonstrated reduced mortality as a result of strength training in older individuals. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, involved in a range of processes in the body, such as insulin metabolism and control of inflammation. Here this review paper, researchers note the correlation between activities that strengthen muscle and lower mortality in epidemiological data. It is worth thinking about for those of us tempted to let the exercise schedule lapse as life moves on.
Physical inactivity is a global public health problem. Regular engagement in muscle-strengthening activities (eg, resistance training) increases or preserves skeletal muscle strength, which has been shown to be inversely associated with mortality and the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. Therefore, promoting muscle-strengthening activities may help in reducing the risk of premature death and NCDs.
Compared with aerobic activities, muscle-strengthening activities have been less frequently investigated in terms of their influence on the prevention of premature death and NCDs. Although these findings suggested a favourable influence of muscle-strengthening activities on the risk of NCDs and mortality, the dose-response association was not quantified. We therefore conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies on muscle-strengthening activities and the risk of mortality and NCDs among adults aged ≥18 years. In addition to examining the health benefits of engaging in muscle-strengthening activities compared with the absence of muscle-strengthening activities independent of aerobic activities, we quantified the dose-response association between muscle-strengthening activities and health outcomes.
Sixteen studies met the eligibility criteria. Muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a 10-17% lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer, diabetes, and lung cancer. No association was found between muscle-strengthening activities and the risk of some site-specific cancers (colon, kidney, bladder, and pancreatic cancers). J-shaped associations with the maximum risk reduction (approximately 10-20%) at approximately 30-60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities were found for all-cause mortality, CVD, and total cancer, whereas an L-shaped association showing a large risk reduction at up to 60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities was observed for diabetes. Combined muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities (versus none) were associated with a lower risk of all-cause, CVD, and total cancer mortality.