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Impact of Weightlifting on the Risk of Death From Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

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According to recent studies, weightlifting reduces cancer and cardiovascular disease. Read below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Neha Suryawanshi

Published At November 9, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 9, 2023


Regular physical activity can help people who already have long-term conditions live better and avoid getting them. Exercises that raise the heart rate, build muscle, and keep joints moving well are all part of healthy physical activity. Weightlifting has long been known to have numerous health benefits, including building muscle mass, increasing bone density, and improving overall physical fitness. However, recent studies have suggested that weightlifting may also lower the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Lifting weights is a form of strength training that can make one’s muscles stronger. Getting stronger can make it easier to do everyday things. It can slow the loss of muscle strength caused by diseases. And it can help keep joints from moving around.

What Do Research Studies Say About Weight Lifting and Lower Risk of Death?

In 2022, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that older adults who lifted weights had a lower risk of death and heart disease. Over 30,000 adults aged 65 and up were followed for an average of 6.6 years as part of the study. When compared to people who did not lift weights, those who did it at least twice a week had a 46 percent lower risk of dying from any cause and a 41 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Another study that was published in the British Journal of Cancer found that people who lift weights may have a much lower chance of getting colon cancer. Over 4,000 adults were followed for an average of eight years for the study. Those who lifted weights for at least 150 minutes per week had a 25 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those who did not lift weights.

Aerobic exercise, like weightlifting, has also been shown to lower the chance of dying from cancer and heart disease. A study in the The American Journal of Epidemiology says that people who lifted weights once or twice a week and did the recommended amount of aerobic activities had a 41 percent lower risk of dying early. Aerobic activities should be done for at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week at a vigorous intensity. A meta-analysis of previous studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that doing 30 to 60 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises each week may lower the risk of dying from any cause by up to 23 percent. The study looked at information from more than 80,000 adults and found that people who did muscle-strengthening exercises had a 31 percent lower risk of dying from cancer and a 23 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than people who did not do muscle-strengthening exercises.

The National Library of Medicine published a study that found that people who lifted weights had a much lower risk of colon cancer and a trend toward a lower risk of kidney cancer than people who did not lift weights. But observational studies cannot say for sure that people who are active do not get cancer because they do other things that are good for their health. Cancer risk may be affected by being overweight in a number of ways, some of which may be unique to certain types of cancer. Researchers are also looking at the link between weight loss in obese people and their chance of getting cancer.

Even though researchers do not fully understand how weightlifting protects against cancer and heart disease, it is thought that it may help to reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase the production of growth factors that help healthy cells grow. Weightlifting may also make a person less likely to be overweight, a major risk factor for cancer and heart disease.

What Is Weight Lifting and What Are Its Benefits?

  • Weight lifting is a type of exercise in which individuals lift weights to build strength and endurance in their muscles. It is a popular way to work out, and people of all ages and fitness levels can do it.

  • One of the best things about lifting weights is that it makes the muscles stronger. This is important for daily tasks like carrying groceries, picking up kids, and doing housework. Lifting weights also makes bones stronger and denser, which can help prevent osteoporosis.

  • Lifting weights is also good because it can help individuals get in better shape overall. It can help speed up the metabolism, which can help burn more calories all day long. It can also improve heart health, which can make individuals less likely to get heart disease.

  • When one lifts weights, they can do a lot of different exercises. Bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and lunges are some of the most common exercises. These exercises work on different groups of muscles and can help individuals get stronger.

  • The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that older adults do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.

  • Regular exercise can also provide emotional benefits such as an increase in energy and positive feelings.

  • Stretching and other exercises for flexibility can help keep joints moving so they can work well. Balance exercises help people be less likely to fall.

  • Balance is also an important part of the exercise, especially for older people and people who have trouble moving. Balance exercises help individuals avoid falls and hurt less when they do fall. Balance-improving exercises include tai chi, walking backward, and practicing standing on one leg.

What Are Some Common Injuries That Elderly People Can Experience While Weight Lifting?

According to a systematic review, the spine, shoulder, and knee are the most common injury localizations in weightlifting and powerlifting. Overuse injuries such as tendinitis or stress fractures can also occur due to repetitive trauma. It is important to start gradually and listen to the body, as many exercise injuries start from a place of good intentions. Lifting an appropriate amount of weight and following proper techniques to avoid injuries are also recommended. It is a good idea to have a baseline physical and to consult with a professional to ensure appropriate technique and guidance.

What Precautions Should Be Taken Before Lifting Weights?

It is important to note that weightlifting should be done safely and under the guidance of a qualified trainer, especially for older adults or those with pre-existing medical conditions. Engaging in a balanced exercise routine that includes both weightlifting and aerobic exercise is also important for optimal health benefits.


Weightlifting and numerous other health benefits may lower the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Engaging in weightlifting at least twice a week and the recommended amount of aerobic exercise may significantly reduce the risk of early death.

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Neha Suryawanshi
Neha Suryawanshi



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