Weight Training vs. Cardio Ratio for Longevity?

Question for @Agetron @desertshores @RapAdmin and others whose opinions I respect here . . . as educated folks who are interested in exercise for lifespan/healthspan, how much weight training vs. cardio do you currently do?

I used to jog every weekday morning at 6am along with weight training afterwards. With family/business obligations stacking up, I’m finding it hard to keep up with the jogging (it takes a lot of time, and I also value the extra hour of sleep more.)

I’m still doing strength training every day, but is it awful if I cut jogging down to just on the weekend? Any thoughts?

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If I had to do it over again I would definitely cut back on the jogging. Why? Because of jogging and playing tennis on hard courts I have damaged my ankles. Unless you are an athlete participating in a high aerobic sport there is no need to jog, especially if you are doing it on a hard surface. Recent studies that I have seen point to the conclusion that strength training is more important than aerobic training. Save those joints!

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Time for the old timers to check in. Lol

Yes! I officially turn 65 chronological years in 2 weeks (but feel like my 51 biological tests).

So Phil…actually, I only do my muscle resistance training every other day. Total body…that is 12 machines… twice… 30 reps each. AVERAGE weight 170 pounds arms and chest stuff… 210 legs stuff. The hardest machines chest fly, pull downs and seated pulls… I do 3 times… and 20 body pull ups twice. Peter Attia said in a podcast …“if you can’t pull your body weight up 10 times you have no right to speak about health”… I do 40 total. All that takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I don’t procrastinate. … or check phone…etc.

On rest days… alternate days… I do a little cardio and abs…bicycle 30 minutes… do 80 inclined situps…hand and leg pull ups to chest 60… and light chest and arms 145 pounds. That gives my body some time to heal. If I miss a day I just pick it up where I left off. Always steak and whole milk on muscle resistance day… other meat … chicken, shrimp on cardio days.

My routine for past 6 years… only since January 2023 added cardio and abs…stuff.

CEO Gordon of GlycanAge hit running , muscle strengthening hard… and daily… he found by not resting between days… as an older athlete he went up in biological age… completely surprised him. He was breaking down his body… not helping it. Makes me appreciate my lighter in-between days.

Hope it helps. Sitting in the locker room as I write. Just finished my muscle resistance :muscle: workout. A good tired feeling right now.

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Strength training seems to correlate to longer health span.

I believe Peter Attia said everyone should shoot for 2 minutes hanging from a bar, deadlifting body weight 10 times, and a 1.5 minute wall sit. That was his minimum.

He does also place a high value on having a high VO2 max. That’s the maximum volume of oxygen your body can handle—a measure of cardiovascular and aerobic fitness.

What most people don’t tell you is that intense weight training does increase VO2 max, especially circuit training.

Long story short there’s no good reason to blow out your knees or ankles doing tons of running… unless you love it.

Every time I go to the gym (twice a week) I walk for 5 minutes working up to 3.8 mph, then I bump it to 5 mph for 15 minutes. I concentrate on no heel strike, which means very fast short strides that begin under my hips and not way out front. I swing my arms front to back with my shoulders always back and down, which is how they are most stable.

I run to warm up and get a sweat going. This is good prep for my joints and muscles for the workout that follows.

If you are lifting at high intensity you will need to rest between sets. My heart rate regularly peaks around 180 bpm when I am squatting, doing deadlifts, doing heavy benching, or doing kettlebell swings. I then wait for my heart rate to drop into the 130’s to do another set.

When doing free weight leg exercises I always just rest between sets. When doing leg machines or upper body I alternate sets between push and pull exercises to give the one set of muscles a break as I work the other (e.g. bench and lat pull downs, biceps and triceps).

The point is that a highly intense workout that gets the heart going and develops cardiovascular fitness is possible without hitting pavement 6 days a week in rain and cold at 5am. Unless you love it.

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You can do 20 uninterrupted pull ups? Overhand with each rep to full elbow extension?

If you post a video of this I will Paypal you $100.

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I am in for another $100.

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Great advice everyone, thank you!

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I’ll chip in my 5 c worth.

I think you can definitely overdo the running and the weights. Give the body time to rebuild and repair.

I’m 66 now. I try to run 2-3 times per week. Usually 8km. I always run on asphalt roads. Hate running on grass. Been doing it for 32 years. I had plantar fasciitis in one foot and jumper’s knee in one leg…fixed them with plasma (PRP) injections. Never had hip or ankle probs. If I am running near the coast I have a cold water swim afterwards.

I do gym work 3 times per week. Like other posters here I think chin ups or pull-ups are very good exercises. I don’t do any gym work for legs as they do the running! About 1.5 hours for me.
During Covid I got a bit carried away with the chin ups…I was doing weighted chin ups, chin ups with 2 fingers, etc etc but it gave me tendinitis in the elbows so I cut back to just 4 sets.
Listen to the body.

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Hey Maveric78 and Dirk… let me see what I can come up with for you.

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Here’s Michael Lustgarten doing 12 with a little kipping

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Like the kipping…I don’t do that. Lol

We cross our ankles the same.

I understand the time restraints while working and family obligations. And because of that, I think many of us default to habits that become habitual, and not necessarily strategic for our best health outcomes. That often leads to all sorts of things - over-training, muscle imbalance, joint injuries, etc whether one weight trains or runs excessively. Our activity throughout the day defines our health as much, if not more, than what we do in an hour workout.

You could maintain strength (I think) by less daily structured workouts and incorporating calisthenics like pullups, pushups squats etc though-out the day. Have a pull-up bar nearby, stand-up desk, and other cues to be active throughout the day. Not just that time in the morning when you have programmed yourself to workout. That could free up time for running throughout the week and not just on the weekends.

Have your cake - and eat it too. I think maintaining muscle is easier than maintaining aerobic fitness. Zone 2 training fitness goes down with disuse quicker than losing muscle. Going back to your original question, what is the best ratio? I frankly am not sure. But there seems to be a real drop-off of cardio fitness in our later old age, like a cliff. I think ignoring zone 2 training contributes to that.

I would strive for balance as both goals are complimentary to each other. Zone 2 cardio is a stress reliever and the movement provides blood flow to muscles and recovery from weight training. Strength contributes to proper posture and running form. Restricting running to the weekend isn’t “awful.” But over time it might be.

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I have no problem with running per se, as we see some 80+ year-olds still running marathons.

My caveat is this: Some people are naturally athletic and have properly aligned skeletal joints while others, such as myself, have improperly aligned joints such as moderate to severe ankle pronation. Extensive running, especially on hard surfaces will aggravate the condition. So, what I am saying; if your anatomy is fit for running, go for it. I do wish that I had realized what extensive running was doing to my ankles.

“Moderation in all things.” is good advice.

I can find no compelling studies that aerobic training is superior to strength training.

I think aerobic training such as biking and swimming is less damaging to the joints than running.

Again moderation is key. There is a J-shaped curve for strength training. There is a “sweet spot” and more is not better.

"What are the new findings?

"Muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a 10–17% lower risk of CVD, total cancer, diabetes, lung cancer, and all-cause mortality independent of aerobic activities among adults.

The maximum risk reduction for all-cause mortality, CVD and total cancer was obtained at approximately 30–60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities, and the risk of diabetes sharply decreased until 60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities, followed by a gradual decrease."

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I had to give up running for a while due to hallux rigidis. I was lucky that a change to wide toed shoes pretty much mitigated the problem (but not the fat bunions over my big toes). It must have been hard for you to give up sports like tennis. My Dad played tennis, and played it well, till 90. So hopefully I have inherited the advantage of properly aligned joints.

I am speculating that as we age, strength and muscle are easier to maintain than aerobic capacity. In a recent Dr Green interview, he points out that there is a rapid age associated decline in cardiac function. His example is runners (Olympic level) go from 2 hours to 3 hours to 6 hours to nine hours to finish a marathon as they age. I think this is a more dramatic decline than what ones sees with strength. See clip @ 53:30 Anti-Aging w/ Rapamycin Over 50: ApoE4 Carriers Need to Hear This! w/ Alan Green, MD - YouTube He further points out that there is a shift in mitochondria function with the use of rapamycin to a younger state. He sees evidence of this with his older patients who are still climbing mountains and other endurance activities at an advanced age.

So my thinking, forecasting ahead, is that I am more vulnerable to a decline in aerobic capacity versus strength. Training at a Zone 2 level would provide a metabolic boost to using fats more efficiently and increasing mitochondrial capacity. One type of training isn’t necessarily superior to another - I just don’t think they overlap in training effect. I thought this website gives credence to my thinking with links to studies. The metabolic benefits of slow, steady Zone 2 exercise - Levels

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One more thought from me:

One often sees elderly people either in wheelchairs or walking frames. They have lost leg strength and can no longer walk unaided (let alone run!)
I never saw an elderly person walking about but unable to use their arms.
So it seems logical to me to favour leg exercise over upper body exercise as one ages, especially past the 75/80 mark.
Just my idea.

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You’re right about that.

I see very few people at the gym concentrating on their legs when that is really what you need. You need some grip strength when you are older to keep from falling etc but mostly you need a good pair of legs.

I think gym goers are much more interested in displaying their biceps than their quadriceps.

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Special thanks to RapAdmin… for helping post these… you rock as always.

Bet you didn’t think I was up to the challenge.

Not sure about all the pull up rules in the UK…and such, but this is just my workout… using the pull-up machine with no resistance. Just a guy keeping active.

So… the medical student who filmed me thought it was funny… but… I had to do this multiple times. The first one didn’t take … damn… the second one was at a bad angle (my ass the whole time)…, so we retook it… 3rd time and 4th is the charm… so did two more rounds.

Then decided to do a plain free pull up. Was slowing down… lol. The student said too bad we missed the first take… yeah! Just kept going to get this done tonight… no breaks.

So been doing this a lot. Got in 100-ish total…this evening :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Be easy on a 65 year old man. I know you will be critical…Hahaha.

That said…save your money boys… just show me your 40+ plus pull ups vid… how it is done and we can call it good!

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Yup machine versions don’t count.

In the bottom video you didn’t do a single full range repetition. Remember full elbow extension to chin above the bar.

Not bad though. If you were fresh you might get 6/7 full range which is excellent for 65. Those steroids are paying off!

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Ok, so you will likely ignore it but here is my advice.

  • Strength train every 3rd or 4th day (so two or three rest / Z2 / stability days between sessions)
  • Select three compound movements, one hinge, one pull and one press (e.g. deadlift, pull ups and bench press)
  • For deadlifts, following warm ups, perform a single set of 5 reps
  • For upper body exercises perform two ‘work’ sets of 8 to 10 reps
  • Increase the load cautiously as progress allows

That’s it, 5 ‘work’ sets twice per week. Including a warm up it should take no longer than 40 minutes.

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You might ask, ‘what authority does this guy have on strength training?’

Well here I am, pre switch to cycling, competing in Olympic Weightlifting

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