How Important are Muscle-strengthening Activities?

Physical inactivity is a global public health problem. Several national and international physical activity guidelines recommend regular muscle-strengthening activities for adults. For example, the recent WHO guidelines recommend that adults should perform muscle-strengthening activities ≥2 days/week.

Doing these types of exercises increases or preserves skeletal muscle strength, which has shown to be inversely associated with mortality and to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

The health benefits of aerobic exercise are well established and have been proven in multiple studies, but there is less information about the benefits of muscle-strengthening exercises. 

New Study on Muscle-strengthening activities

In a new study researchers evaluated their effect and how these types of exercises can improve our health. The study appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. 

The team performed a systematic review and meta-analysis using data from MEDLINE and Embase, using prospective cohort studies that examined the association between muscle-strengthening activities and health outcomes. 

The authors concluded that doing 30-60 minutes of these exercises each week was associated with a 10–17% lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer, and lung cancer.

They also found that up to 1 hour of muscle-strengthening exercises a week reduces the risk of developing diabetes. 

While there were reductions in overall cancer and lung cancer cases, the team did not find a risk reduction for other cancers, such as colon, kidney, bladder, and pancreatic cancer.


Momma H, Kawakami R, Honda T, et alMuscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studiesBritish Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 28 February 2022. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-105061

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