The Ideal Combination For A Workout – Cardio Mixed With Strength Training


Incorporating a few strength-training sessions into your weekly workout routine might be the key to warding off premature death, according to a recent study. The research indicates that individuals have the lowest risk of premature death from all causes when they engage in muscle-building exercises at least twice a week, in combination with regular aerobic workouts.

If your ultimate fitness objective is to enhance longevity, relying solely on cardio exercises won’t suffice. To achieve this goal, it’s essential to include a minimum of two muscle-building workouts in your weekly regimen. This, along with a mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, as suggested by the study, can significantly contribute to a longer and healthier life.

“If you only do moderate physical activity each week, you will significantly reduce your risk of early mortality, but if you add weekly vigorous activity and muscle-strengthening physical activity to your usual moderate physical activity routine, you will reduce your risk of early mortality even more,” said Rubén López-Bueno, PhD. He’s the study lead author and he’s from the University of Zaragoza in Spain.

The Most Ideal Exercise to Attain Longevity

In this comprehensive study, researchers delved into data from over 500,000 adults, investigating their engagement in various physical activities over a decade. The activities examined included moderate exercises such as brisk walking, vigorous activities like jogging, and muscle-strengthening workouts like weightlifting. Over the course of the study, approximately 56,000 participants passed away, with more than 17,000 succumbing to cardiovascular diseases and almost 13,000 to cancer.

The results, published in JAMA Internal Medicine on August 7, highlighted a significant finding: individuals who engaged in at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening workouts weekly, coupled with over 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercises and up to 75 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises, experienced the most substantial decline in the risk of premature death. Remarkably, this group exhibited a 50% reduction in the likelihood of dying from any cause compared to those who didn’t partake in any moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise and completed fewer than one muscle-strengthening session.

Equally noteworthy was the discovery that those who engaged in the same quantity of moderate exercise and muscle-strengthening routines, but balanced it with 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise, demonstrated a 47% lower chance of premature death. These findings underscore the vital role of diverse physical activities in enhancing longevity, painting a compelling picture of the impact of specific exercise regimens on human mortality rates.

Balanced Fitness Regimen to Enjoy Longevity and Reap Results

The findings of this study suggest a need for reconsidering the existing exercise guidelines. The current recommendations advocate for either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, coupled with two sessions of muscle-building exercises. Dr. López-Bueno proposes a fundamental shift in this approach. Instead of an either-or scenario regarding moderate and vigorous aerobic exercises, he suggests integrating both. In other words, individuals could target 75 minutes of each type of aerobic activity per week, on top of incorporating two muscle-strengthening sessions.

However, it’s crucial to note that this study does not provide definitive answers regarding the optimal duration or types of muscle-enhancing workouts. This underlines the necessity for further research to delve into the specifics of muscle-boosting exercises.

Alarmingly, the study reveals a significant gap between the recommended exercise levels and actual practice. A mere 6.6 percent of participants adhered to the guidelines by engaging in at least two muscle-strengthening workouts per week, combined with the prescribed aerobic activities. Shockingly, 72 percent of participants fell short of meeting the minimum requirements, failing to achieve even 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, or two muscle-strengthening sessions weekly. These results emphasize the pressing need for a more nuanced and adaptable approach to exercise guidelines, considering the diverse challenges people face in meeting these standards.

Physical Activity  – Better Than Doing Nothing

According to Jessica Gorzelitz, PhD, a physical activity researcher at the University of Iowa, even individuals who don’t meet the minimum recommended weekly exercise can still benefit from whatever physical activity they can manage. Gorzelitz, who was not part of the recent study, emphasizes the potential advantages of any level of physical activity.

“It is important to consider one’s own starting point as a reference value for where to set goals,” Dr. Gorzelitz said. “For example, if a person reports no leisure time activity [no moderate, vigorous, or strength activity], truly they will benefit from any activity addition — so it’s okay to start small and work towards the guidelines.”

The research results indicate that beyond a certain threshold, additional aerobic exercise offers minimal extra benefits. These findings were noted by Keith Diaz, PhD, an exercise physiologist and associate professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, who was not part of the study.

The best exercise is one that you are able to maintain and pull off for the long haul, Dr. Diaz said. “If you’re short on time, vigorous exercise is the most time-efficient,” Diaz adds. “Ten minutes of vigorous exercise is equivalent to 20 minutes of moderate exercise.”

How to Tell if You’re Exercising Effectively

For maximum benefits, you need to opt for a workout that brings you joy and push your limits, Dr. Adam Skolnickadvised. He is an associate professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City and it must be noted that he was not part of the latest study made.

“If you find that you can sing a song while exercising, you probably need to increase the intensity,” Dr. Skolnick said. “On the other hand, if you cannot speak at all while exercising, it may be too intense.”