How to live longer: Best exercise to boost your life expectancy amid coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has seen gyms and leisure centres shut their doors. Some groups of society aren’t allowed to leave their house, except for daily exercise. But which life enhancing activity can be done at home?

There’s lots of evidence that aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk, jogging or cycling, can improve a person’s health.

But, did you know that strength training could also increase life expectancy?

A study by Penn State Health Medical Center and Columbia University found that older adults who did strength training had lower odds of dying.


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The researchers knew “regular exercise [was] associated with health benefits, including preventing early death, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers”, but wanted to focus on strength training.

Dr Jennifer Kraschnewski, one of the researchers, examined data from the 1997-2001 National Health Review Survey (NHIS) linked to death certificate data through 2011.

The 30,000 participants who took part in the NHIS were 65 years old and above.

Published in the Preventive Medicine journal, the results revealed that those who performed strength training at least twice a week had a 46 percent lower odds of death – for any reason – than those who did not.

The researchers added: “People who reported strength exercises appeared to see a greater mortality benefit than those who reported physical activity alone.

“The study is strong evidence that strength training in older adults is beneficial beyond improving muscle strength and physical function.”

What is strength training?

Strength training is using resistance to create work for your muscles.

For instance, lifting weights is a great example of strength training.

Benefits of strength training

As well as the possibility it could extend your life, strength training helps to build muscle and strengthen joints and bones.

Verywell Fit pinpoints the specific benefits of weight training in older adults, which are:

  • Increased strength in the upper and lower body
  • Improved joint health, balance, and stability
  • Enhanced metabolic fitness (including glucose tolerance and cholesterol control)
  • Weight management
  • Maintaining bone density

Reap the rewards at home by purchasing dumbbells (weights) on trusted e-retailer sites such as Amazon and eBay.


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Post delivered to your door will be left on the doorstep, so that social distancing measures are still adhered by.

How to do weight training

Weight training involves a series of exercises known as “repetitions” and “sets”.

A repetition is one type of exercise that is repeated, such as the arm curl.

“Sets” describes a group of repetitions. Typically, a training session involves three sets of 12 repetitions.

Make sure that the dumbbell is heavy enough to do eight to 12 repetitions comfortably, but not overtly easy.

Verywell Fit add: ” It’s always best to start with a lighter weight and as your body gets more comfortable with working out you can increase your weight.”

For ease, look on YouTube for weight training videos and find a few you like to work out alongside.

It’s a great way to remain mental focus, improve your fitness and extend your life.

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