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Exercise & Fitness

Stronger body, healthier heart?

July 1, 2022

Spending as little as half an hour each week on strength building exercises is linked to a lower risk of premature death from heart disease.

photo of a man and a woman exercising outdoors in a park

If you’re in the habit of doing a 20- to 30-minute brisk walk or other moderate exercise most days of the week, that’s fantastic. But a lot of people neglect the recommendation in the federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week. While the guidelines don’t suggest a specific amount of time to spend on this effort, evidence from a new study suggests that 30 to 60 minutes per week is a good goal.

Published Feb. 28, 2022, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study pooled data from 16 earlier studies to explore how different types of exercise might affect longevity and the risk of dying from heart disease or other health conditions. Compared with people who did no strength training, those who did a half-hour to one full hour of muscle-building exercises per week had a 10% to 17% reduction in the risk of early death, the researchers found.

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About the Author

photo of Julie Corliss

Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Julie Corliss


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