Walking, running, biking and other aerobic exercise is undoubtedly beneficial for health, but a growing body of research reinforces the importance of strength training for longevity and quality of life.
“Cardio is important but if you’re just doing cardio, you’re not reaching your full potential,” says Michelle Dowd, clinical services director at Tidelands Health Pawleys Family YMCA.
Recent research found that two weekly strength training sessions that include exercises such as bicep curls, squats and presses— when combined with aerobic exercise — offer the best protection against chronic disease and can help you live longer.
Walking, cycling, running and other forms of aerobic exercise are great for the heart, lungs and circulatory system but do little to build muscle mass and strength, which is crucial for aging well and staying healthy, adds Dowd.
In studies supported by the National Institute on Aging, researchers found strength training offers a wealth of benefits and should be incorporated as part of a regular exercise routine.
Some of the ways strength training can benefit health: