1. Muscle-strengthening activities (MSA) were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer, diabetes, lung cancer and all-cause mortality, independent of aerobic activities.

2. The maximum risk reduction was obtained at around 30-60 minutes/week.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

The recent World Health Organization guidelines recommend that adults should perform MSA at least 2 days per week. Compared with aerobic activities, MSA has not been investigated as frequently in terms of its influence on preventing premature death and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As a result, the purpose of the present systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies was to investigate the association of MSA on the risk of mortality and NCDs among adults.

From 1252 identified records, 29 studies (n = 263,058 participants) were included from database inception to October 2020. Eligible studies had a prospective observational design of adults and examined the influence of MSA on any health outcome. Studies were excluded if participants had severe baseline health conditions (e.g. cancer or disability). Study quality was assessed using a modification of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) for Quality Assessment of Prospective Cohort Studies. A dose-response meta-analysis was used to investigate the influence of MSA on health outcomes.

Results demonstrated that MSA were associated with a lower risk of CVD, total cancer, diabetes, lung cancer and all-cause mortality independent of aerobic activities. Furthermore, the maximum risk reduction was obtained at around 30-60 minutes/week. However, the study was limited by the small number of included studies which precluded the ability to perform subgroup analyses. Despite this, the present study suggests that performing MSA may provide benefit in reducing the risk of NCDs independent of aerobic activity.

Click to read the study in British Journal of Sports Medicine 

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