Is aerobic exercise or strength training better?

Dr Frank Lipman
Nov 30, 2022

Is aerobic exercise or strength training better for healthspan? This study gives a glimpse into the answer.

Study Summary

A study including nearly 480,000 participants investigated the relationship between physical activity based on the 2018 physical activity guidelines and death from all causes or disease. After an 8.75 year follow-up period:

  • Individuals who had engaged in the recommended amount of muscle strengthening activity or the recommended amount of aerobic activity had a reduced risk for death from all causes.
  • Individuals who engaged in both aerobic and strength training exercises experienced the largest survival benefits and the lowest risk for death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory tract diseases.

The Hearty Take

At Hearty, we believe meeting the recommendations for aerobic physical activity (≥150 minutes of light to moderate intensity activity or ≥75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week) and muscle strengthening (moderate or greater intensity training 2+ days each week) is important to reduce the risk for disease and death. Due to the different primary effects – aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular function, whereas strength training primarily improves strength and maintains muscle mass – these forms of exercise combined have the greatest impact on lifespan and healthspan. For more personalized information, consider looking into your genetics!

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