WE’VE ALL HEARD people proclaim that the only way to attain ultimate health is long, punishing cardio routines. Try an ultramarathon! they say. You’ll find yourself!
And with all due respect to the people who haul themselves through ultramarathons on a regular basis, we’d like to suggest an alternative way of prolonging your life—and so would a new scientific study. That’s right: Old-fashioned strength training can also help you live longer, according to new research from the University of Sydney.
When the researchers analyzed more than 80,000 people enrolled in a British health survey, they discovered that people who did any amount of a “strength-promoting exercise”—which includes bodyweight workouts as well as traditional lifting—were 23% less likely to die early, and 31% less likely to die from cancer.
“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling,” said study lead Emmanuel Stamatakis, Ph.D., an associate professor at the School of Public Health and the Charles Perkins Centre at the university. “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.”
Looking for a few workouts to get started? Check out the 10 strength-building strategies that will never die—and then put them to work in our ultimate functional strength workout program.