As discussed many times here and elsewhere, there is a well-established connection between regular physical activity and reductions in mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. While many early studies emphasized the importance of aerobic exercise, strength-promoting exercises have become an integral part of most physical activity guidelines over the last 10 years. Over this last decade, there has been mounting evidence for the benefits of strength training independent of aerobic exercise. One of the most important examples is the reduction of type 2 DM with strength training.
A recent study by Stamatakis, et al, added very interesting research to the benefits of strength training. In a very large study from Scotland and England, they demonstrated a 23% reduction in mortality and 31% reduction in cancer mortality with anystrength promoting exercise. In addition, they found that gym-based exercise and home-based exercise were both beneficial. They conclude that adherence to strength exercise is at least as important and aerobic exercise.
Although I believe in “the best exercise for you is the one that you will do”, it is important because of multiple health benefits to include both strength and aerobic training in our recommendations to patients. We should always include both types of physical activity to our patients in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.
Stamatakis, E, et al. Does strength promoting exercise confer unique health benefits? A pooled analysis of eleven population cohorts with all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality endpoints. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2017.