Lifting Weights As You Age Could Make You Live Longer

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You may already know that breaking a sweat can make you feel great and give you more energy, but a new study finds that pumping iron can actually make you live longer. If that's not reason enough to add some weights to your routine, how about this? Weightlifting can cut your risk of a premature death by 19%.

Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine looked at a group of people aged 65 and older and their fitness habits for 15 years. Now, you might think that a group of people that age probably didn't do squats and cleans while hoping to break their PRs — and you'd be right. But even simple weight-bearing exercises were recorded. Researchers found that although only 10% of the participants lifted weights, those who did were 46% less likely to die than the participants that didn't lift.

According to study author Jennifer Kraschnewski, MD, weight lifting not only strengthens muscles, which helps with stamina and balance, it also increases bone density. According to Men's Health, all of that comes together to "reduce [the] risk for falls and fractures — major causes of disability for older people."

Researchers also took into account participants' BMIs, whether or not they drank or smoked, and conditions like diabetes and hypertension. After looking at the data — noting that a third of the participants died during the study — the team concluded that weightlifting had major benefits.

So if you're already integrating weight training into your workout, keep at it. Dr. Kraschnewski adds that it's never too late to start. "Older adults have the ability to achieve strength similar to those decades younger by engaging in simple strength training routines," she said.
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