OLDER people who lift weights live longer, a study found — but only if done quickly and in moderation.
Researchers measured muscle power in 4,000 men and women aged between 40 and 85 in the six-year trial.
They found those with the ability to lift weights at speed lived longer.
But gym-users should not go too hard — as those with significantly more muscle power than average were up to 13 times more at risk of dying.
Muscle power is needed to do day-to-day tasks like climbing stairs, experts say.
The study measured the muscle strength of almost 4,000 non-athletes by counting how many times they could lift a weight in the ‘upright row’ position.
That involves the participant holding a weight at hip-height and lifting it up to their shoulders with elbows pointing out.
The researchers said that it is a common movement used in daily life for picking up shopping bags and grandchildren.
WEIGH TO GO
Study author Prof Claudio Gil Araújo, from Brazil, said: “Doctors should consider measuring muscle power and advise more power training.”
The research team are currently examining the link between muscle power and specific causes of death including heart disease and cancer.
The researchers said that the best way to increase muscle power is to choose multiple exercises for the upper and lower body, choosing a weight that isn’t too easy or hard to lift; then do one to three sets of six to eight repetitions moving the weight as fast as possible with 20 seconds of rest between each set.
Start with six repetitions in each set and, when the exercise becomes easy, increase to eight.