Strength Training = A Longevity Secret

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What’s your favorite hand? Foot? Eyeball? Nostril?

When it comes to longevity and exercise, aerobic exercise gets all the publicity.  Aerobic exercise is great – we love it. We’ve collaborated with Aerobic Exercise a number of times and have had great experiences. And yet, resistance training is equally important (in my informed, humble opinion.) 

Like most of our body (hands, feet, eyeballs, etc.) the good things come in pairs.  With exercise, aerobic and resistance training form a dynamic duo.  Long ago, I read the excellent phrasing of this concept in the popular book Younger Next Year: “aerobic training might save your life, but resistance training makes it worth living.”

What good is living if you can’t do things and move stuff? Strength training gives you that literal ability to do things and move stuff.

For those that like a little how with their wow, let’s talk about FGF21.

A little over 20 years ago, a new human hormone was discovered called FGF21. (Named because it was the 21st version of fibroblast growth factor.) One other member of the FGF family, Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF2) helps in the formation of new blood vessels. It is also involved in improving some brain functions such as improving synaptic efficiency and affinity between neurons to facilitate learning and retention.

These fibroblast growth factors are some F-ing Good Factors.  FGF21 has been recognized as key to the promotion of metabolic and arterial health, leanness, and longevity.

FGF21 gets metabolized quickly in your body so we can’t just rely on hormone therapy for this.  (Read: there’s not going to be a drug, pill, or injection that will be able to replace regularly boosting it through your actions.) One thing that boosts FGF21 is exercise.  And in an interesting development, some recent research found that resistance training increased FGF21 42% while aerobic training boosted it 25%. (Keihanian, 2019)

Funtensity has always taken the position that “all exercise is good for the brain, but certain elements make it better.” And this is just as true for certain hormones.  Yet another reason why we don’t want to be overdoing one form of exercise in our efforts at fitness. 

Also, this is another tick in the box in the voting for complete fitness – a concept familiar to frequent readers and introduced here

Make sure you’re doing your weight training (and making it fun using the Funtensity methodologies).  Who knows, you just may become one of those people they interview who is turning 100.  When they ask what your “secret” is, you can answer “resistance training!”  


Keihanian A, Arazi H, Kargarfard M. Effects of aerobic versus resistance training on serum fetuin-A, fetuin-B, and fibroblast growth factor-21 levels in male diabetic patients. Physiol Int. 2019;106(1):70-80.

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