Lift weights for better health

written by Meena Azzollini

couple lifting weights in a gym Credit:123RF

Previous studies have shown us that 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise has many health benefits and it can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

But all previous research has been based on endurance training such as running and cycling and very little has been known about resistance or weight training and the role that it plays in the development of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of disorders which occur together and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and increases blood sugar levels.

After further adjustment for other health-related behaviours such as smoking and drinking, and aerobic exercise levels, resistance training of even less than one hour per week was associated with a 29 per cent lower risk.

Resistance training has been known to reduce Type 2 diabetes and improve bone health, but till now nothing was known about its effect on metabolic syndrome.

7,418 middle aged men and women, who underwent extensive preventative medical examination between 1987 and 2006, were recruited from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study for this study.

All participants underwent comprehensive medical examination at baseline and did not have metabolic syndrome.

Participants were asked in a questionnaire about weekly frequency of resistance training and average exercise duration for each session using either free weights or weight training machines over the preceding 3 months.

Out of all the participants, 15 per cent developed metabolic syndrome during the course of the study at a median follow-up of four years. Participants who complied with resistance training guidelines of two or more sessions per week had a 17 per cent lower chance of developing metabolic syndrome. After further adjustment for other health-related behaviours such as smoking and drinking, and aerobic exercise levels, resistance training of even less than one hour per week was associated with a 29 per cent lower risk.

More resistance training did not derive any extra health benefits. It also made no difference if participants did resistance training only on the weekend or spread it out through the week.

Aerobic exercise and resistance training provided the best exercise combination for reducing the incidence of metabolic syndrome.

Based on the results of this study, it seems that two 30 minute sessions of resistance training per week is best and has the most beneficial effect.

So why not include resistance training into your regular exercise routine? Challenge your muscles to get the most benefit and keep metabolic syndrome at bay.

Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings


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Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!