Resistance Training and Mortality Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


      This study aimed to systematically review and meta-analyze the relationship between resistance training and all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality.


      Systematic review and meta-analysis following PRISMA guidelines (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews Registration Number CRD42019136654) was conducted. MEDLINE (OVID), Embase, Emcare, SPORTDiscus, The Cochrane Library, and SCOPUS were searched from inception to June 6, 2021. Included studies reported resistance training as the exposure and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease‒specific mortality, and/or cancer-specific mortality as outcome/s. Only studies conducted among nonclinical adult populations (aged ≥18 years) and written in English were included.


      A total of 10 studies were included in the meta-analyses. Compared with undertaking no resistance training, undertaking any amount of resistance training reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 15% (RR of 6 studies=0.85; 95% CI=0.77, 0.93), cardiovascular disease mortality by 19% (RR of 4 studies=0.81; 95% CI=0.66, 1.00), and cancer mortality by 14% (RR of 5 studies=0.86; 95% CI=0.78, 0.95). A dose–response meta-analysis of 4 studies suggested a nonlinear relationship between resistance training and the risk of all-cause mortality. A maximum risk reduction of 27% was observed at around 60 minutes per week of resistance training (RR=0.74; 95% CI=0.64, 0.86). Mortality risk reductions diminished at higher volumes.


      This systematic review and meta-analysis provides the strongest evidence to date that resistance training is associated with reduced risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer-specific mortality. More research is needed to determine whether any potential mortality benefits gained from resistance training diminish at higher volumes.
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