CARDIO OR STRENGTH TRAINING FOR LONGEVITIY
The many health benefits of aerobic exercise are well known to us as members of a running club. But what about strength training? Many runners believe that all they need to do for health and longevity is just keep on running. According to a Harvard study, without a dedicated plan to build or keep muscle mass and strength, it gradually slips away: the average 30-year-old will lose one quarter of his or her muscle strength by 70 and half by 90.
An analysis reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association covered 8 years and consisted of 115,000 participants. The death rate among those who did only strength workouts was reduced by 9 to 22 percent. Those who did only moderate to vigorous aerobics experienced a reduction of 24 to 34 percent. Those who did both had an impressive 41 to 47 percent reduction in death rate compared to those who did no exercise.
The most consistent recommendation for aerobic exercise is 150 minutes of moderate or 75 of vigorous. Weight work should be done 2 to 3 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes. It should include 4 to 6 different exercises that use as many muscle groups as possible: legs, hip, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms. Each exercise should be 10 to 15 reps repeated 2 to 3 times. It can be performed with machines, weights, exercise bands, or just against gravity.
There have been more studies on the benefits of aerobic exercise than on strength, but there are a few recent studies that show strength training to be superior to aerobic. The bottom line is that they each do different things for your body, and you need both.
The Harvard study mentioned earlier concludes: “Just doing aerobic exercise is not adequate. Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional.”
So, there you have the very bottom line: It’s best to do both.