A new study published by the University of Sydney found that anaerobic exercises have the potential to add years to your life expectancy.

With over 80,000 adults involved in the long-term research program, this is the most extensive study conducted to compare the mortality outcomes of various types of exercises. The study found that there was a 23% reduction in risk of premature death by any means and a 31% reduction in cancer-related death for those who participated in anaerobic exercises.

This was an observational study and adjustments were made to reduce the impact of other factors such as a person’s age, sex, health status, lifestyle, and education level. All those that participated with established cardiovascular conditions or those who had cancer at baseline and those who died in the first two years of follow up were excluded from the study to reduce the possibility of skewed results as those with pre-existing conditions would likely participate in less exercise.

The study also found that strength training was as necessary as aerobic exercise when it came to mortality. The WHO’s Physical Activity Guidelines for adults recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity, plus two days of muscle-strengthening activities each week. But the study found that a whopping 85% of Australians fail to meet those recommendations.

Here are some key findings of the study:

  • Body weight exercises that can be performed in any setting without equipment yielded comparable results to gym-based activities
  • Adherence to WHO’s strength-promoting exercise guideline alone was associated with reduced risk of cancer-related death, but adherence to the WHO’s aerobic physical activity guideline alone was not
  • Adherence to WHO’s strength-promoting exercise and aerobic guidelines combined was associated with a greater risk reduction in mortality than aerobic physical activity alone
  • there was no evidence of an association between strength-promoting exercise and cardiovascular disease mortality.

The takeaway here is that one must combine both aerobic and anaerobic exercise to maintain good health. Anaerobic activities do not have to be conducted in a gym but can be done anywhere with no equipment and just a person’s body weight. Some examples of which are pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups.

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