Forget the gym: A regular routine of sit-ups and push-ups at home can prolong life

People who carry out strength-based exercises slash their risk of premature death by 23 per cent and reduce the chance of dying from cancer by an astonishing 31 per cent. 

older people particularly benefit from a daily strength workout, whether it be the humble push-up, press-up or a simple weight-bearing exercise. 

And you don’t need to join a gym. 

Experts say even using the vacuum cleaner, mowing the lawn or climbing the stairs can help to stave off life-threatening illnesses as we age. 

Older people should carry on with strength-based workouts for as long as they are able, say researchers. 

Their in-depth study of more than 80,000 Britons found strength exercise was as vital for good health as “traditional” aerobic workouts such as jogging and cycling. 

The Australian study reviewed British data for its report. 

Lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, of Sydney University, said: “People who most need to get active are middle-aged who are at imminent risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Stamatakis warned that the processes of developing life-threatening conditions have already started by middle age, but physical exercise can slow down or reverse the changes. 

He said strengthening exercises did not necessarily mean a gym workout.

He added: “It’s great to know that anyone can do classic exercises such as triceps dips, sit-ups, push-ups or lunges in their own home or local park and potentially reap the same health benefits. 

“The analysis showed exercises using one’s own body weight without specific equipment were just as effective as gym-based training.” 

Dr Ian Campbell, a GP in Nottingham for 30 years, said: “This is welcome news. The benefits of physical activity are many, and at any age. A lot of benefit can be gained by climbing stairs, or by a vigorous workout with the vacuum cleaner, lawnmower, or any heavy physical tasks at home.” 

Age UK also stressed the importance of staying physically active as you get older. 

Chair-based exercises, done sitting or holding on to the back of a chair, are ideal for improving muscle strength and flexibility. 

The research, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, is the largest study to compare the mortality outcomes of different types of exercise.



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