We are all mortal (unless Superman is reading this, then you can stop here). And there’s a great chance that if you are reading this article, you like to workout.
But when you train, what’s the goal of your training? Sports performance? Strongman? Powerlifting? General health and wellness? Getting beach body ready for the upcoming summer? What if I told you that you should be training now for longevity in life? How would you feel about that?
You can Google the benefits of strength training and most of the results will be the same, regardless of which link you click on. But, what does all that mean over a lengthened term as an individual ages? What benefits can we expect to see? Do we have a choice of how we age?
Just a few notes from studies in regards to muscular strength and mortality rates of individuals...
With respect to cancer-specific mortality, individuals in the upper quartile for muscle strength were at a 50% reduced risk (Dankel et. al, 2018).
Decreased lower extremity muscle strength was strongly associated with increased mortality risk in patients undergoing hemodialysis (Ryota et. al, 2014).
Low muscle strength was independently associated with elevated risk of mortality, regardless of muscle mass, metabolic syndrome, sedentary time, or leisure time physical activity (Jianjun et. al, 2018). This clearly points to the importance of muscle strength in all populations as they age.
Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all causes and cancer in men (Ruiz et. al, 2008).
Muscular strength can also affect length of stay in a hospital (Lee et. al, 2012).
Strength training improves neuromuscular coordination and balance. Falls often lead to large health concerns for elderly individuals, so mitigating that with strength training is clearly beneficial.
Strength training increases bone mass and mineral density. Increasing both of these factors lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training can improve cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure, blood lipid profiles, and insulin resistance.
Strength training can counteract the decline in muscle mass and strength, also known as sarcopenia. The reduction of the decrease in contractile protein can allow an individual to continue fairly normal activity levels.
If you want to get more information about matching your training goals to your health and aging goals, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dankel, S., Loenneke, J., & Loprinzi, P. (2018). Cancer-specific mortality relative to engagement in muscle- strengthening activities and lower extremity strength. Journal Of Physical Activity & Health, 15(2), 144-149.
Jianjun, G., Ran, L., Jin, X., Xi, Z., Yiqing, S., Gathirua-Mwangi, W., & ... Mckenzie, S. (2018). Associations of muscle mass and strength with all-cause mortality among US older adults. Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, 50(3), 458-467.
Lee, J., Waak, K., Grosse-Sundrup, M., Xue, F., Lee, J., Chipman, D., Ryan, C., Bittner, E., Schmidt, U., & Eikermann, M. (2012). Global muscle strength but not grip strength predicts mortality and length of stay in a general population in a surgical intensive care unit. Physical Therapy, 92(12), 1546-1555.
Ruiz, J., Sui, X., Lobelo, F., Morrow, J., Jackson, A., Sjuostrom, M., Blair, S. (2008). Association between muscular strength and mortality in men; prospective cohort study. BMJ, 337:a439.
Ryota, M., Atsuhiko, M., Guoqin, W., Shuhei, Y., Toshiki, K., Akira, I., & ... Naonobu, T. (2014). Relationship between lower extremity muscle strength and all-cause mortality in japanese patients undergoing dialysis. Physical Therapy, 94(7), 947-956.