Fit Knowledge

Is Power the Key to a Longer Life? – New Research Says Yes

Any girl that lifts weights on the regular can rave about the health benefits of training. From improved strength to body confidence, we could talk about it for days.

We know it’s good for us. We can feel it. And if you’ve spent any time researching, you will have found countless articles claiming that lifting weights can lead to a longer life. Well, research shows this is absolutely true.

More specifically, those who have a more powerful physique have been shown to live longer. Even longer than those who’re strong.

Let’s take a look at the research.

Power leads to a longer life – new research

“Rising from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depend more on muscle power than muscle strength, yet most weight bearing exercise focuses on the latter,” said Professor Claudio Gil Araújo, director of research and education from the Exercise Medicine Clinic — CLINIMEX, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Our study shows for the first time that people with more muscle power tend to live longer.”

In a massive study of 3,878 people, spanning 15 years, researchers at the CLINIMEX clinic found that those with a more powerful physique live longer than those who don’t [1].

The study was conducted by asking the participants, who’s age ranged from 41-85, to undergo a maximal power output test by performing a cable pull down as fast as they could. Each subject had three attempts, at which the highest load was recorded and analysed to find a value for power per kg of bodyweight.

The participants came back after 6.5 years to perform the test. During this time, 10% of the men and 6% of the women had died. At this point researchers found that those who scored above average (in the top two quartiles) for maximal power output for their sex had the best survival rate. Those who were just below average had a 4-5 times higher risk of dying, and those who were in the bottom quartile were 10-13 times more at risk of death.

The research showed a very clear correlation between lack of power and a higher risk of early death.

[Related Article: Weight Lifting for Women – The Lifts you Need to Know

What is power and how can you boost it?

Knowing that power is key to a longer life is one thing, but how do you make sure you work that into your training? The first step is understanding exactly what power means, and then applying that knowledge to the way your work out.

Power is defined as the ability to generate force and velocity and to coordinate movement [2]. In simpler terms, that basically means your ability to lift something heavy, quickly.

So rather than taking it slow and steady and aiming for a 1rp, up the reps, lower the weight and boost the speed.

Take this approach with exercises that cover you for a full body workout to improve the power throughout your frame.

If you’re looking for a workout that could improve power and potentially even lengthen your life, why not take this full body workout for a spin:

  1. Squats 3 sets of 6 reps
  2. Weighted lunges 3 sets 8 reps each leg
  3. Military press 3 sets of 8 reps
  4. Dumbbell bench press 3 sets of 8 reps
  5. 4 supersets of 8 reps for:
    1. Kettlebell swing
    2. Box jumps

[Related Article: 20 Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workouts for Women] 

Tip #1: Aim to work quickly through each rep, focussing on moving the weight fast. With this in mind, choose an appropriate weight without going too heavy. If you start to break good form stop and lower the weight – you don’t want to end up with an injury.

Tip #2: Keep it challenging. If it starts to feel easy then think about upping the weight or the number of reps. As long as your form is good then you’re good to keep going.

Conclusion

New research has shown that power is intrinsically linked to a longer life, so if you’re looking for ways to look after your body in later life, then this is the type of training you should consider doing.

Why not give this workout a go to kickstart the process.

[Related Article: Best Beginner Workouts for Women]

 

References

[2] Metter EJ, Conwit R, Tobin J, et al. Age-associated loss of power and strength in the upper extremities in women and men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1997;52:B267–276.

Lauren

Lauren is a health and fitness enthusiast, powerlifter and writer who's written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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