People in their sixties and seventies who lift weights once or twice a week have a nine to 22 per cent staves off the risk of dying from any cause except cancer, research suggests. It can be even more effective when combined with heart lung exercise such as running or cycling. Sybil Kretzmer, interviewed for the i website, says that at 68 the arthritis in her thumb was so painful she couldn’t lift a plate of food across the kitchen. But two years later, after joining a gym, she can shoulder press with 10 kilogram dumbbells and deadlift 50 kilos. “I never thought I’d be a weightlifter, but now I feel a sense of euphoria when I finish a set”, she says. And she no longer takes painkillers for the arthritis, crediting a strengthening of muscles around the offending joint.