It’s time to stop renewing that pesky gym membership if it’s not working for you.
New research from the University of Sydney shows that it really makes no difference where you’re exercising, as long as it’s regular and includes a focus on boosting strength.
That means crunches, sit-ups, push-ups and squats all from the (relative) comfort of your home, office or local park are all perfectly acceptable.
The study surveyed 80,000 adults over 30 years old, living in England and Scotland between the years of 1994 and 2008. The participants’ health and subsequent risk of death was then assessed at the end of this period.
The results showed that participants who worked out at the gym spent on average 60 minutes a week on strength-building exercise, while those who participated at home spent around 50 minutes a week in comparison.
Both groups were seen to reduce their overall risk of early death by 20 percent.
The risk of cancer-related deaths was also dramatically reduced by 24-27 percent for individuals who partook in regular strength-building exercise.
The study is critical in showing that strength exercises have a profound impact on our overall physical health and are at least as important as aerobic work outs like cycling or walking.
For women, regular exercise is particularly vital, with an earlier study this year finding that busy women who neglected exercise were far more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.
Even more worryingly, that same study conducted by NFP Jean Hailes, showed that 60 percent of women in Australia were failing to meet the recommended 2.5 hours per week of moderate physical activity.
Survey director Helen Brown told the SMH that women should “realise… you don’t have to look ‘sporty’ to be active”, and be active in “ways that suit their lifestyle”.
“‘Exercise makes you think of lycra and going to the gym, and women – especially those who are a bit older – may not feel that’s not for them,” she said. “It’s just a bit intimidating
“Plus more women are working than ever before, so the concept of this work-life balance can… just make you feel guilty.”
But, the good news is that it’s never too late to get started. Beginning or resuming exercise at any point in your life will benefit your overall health—both physically and mentally.
Find a few regimes you enjoy that mix both aerobic and strength-building exercise, plan a schedule, lean on a support network (friends or family who will kick your butt), set some goals and listen to your body.
You’ll be like Jane Fonda in no time.