Regular weight training does more than just build better muscles, it builds a better, healthier body. Several new studies confirm the benefits of mild-to-moderate resistance training, which includes reduced blood pressure, lower LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels and higher HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels, all of which improve cardiovascular health overall. Weight training is also believed to improve the way the body processes sugar, which could reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Another study examined the effect of weight training on osteoarthritis, a common condition among older adults that affects balance and increases the risk of falling. This study and others confirm that exercise of any kind improves strength, gait and ability to perform activities of daily living among older adults with osteoarthritis, and, in many cases, reduces the pain associated with the disease.
A new study confirms what many discovered long ago—strength training plays an important role in ridding the body of extra weight. Sure, aerobic exercise burns calories, but the body’s metabolism quickly returns to pre-exercise levels, usually within 30 minutes or so. Resistance training, according to the researchers at Johns Hopkins University, leads to increased calorie burning for up to two hours after the workout is over.
Carol A. Binzen and colleagues recruited 10 moderately trained women to perform three sets of 10 exercises at a 10-repetition maximum with a one-minute rest period between each set. Researchers found that fat oxidation was significantly higher after the strength-training session.
Unfortunately, because weight training often results in a corresponding increase in weight due to increased muscle mass, many women abandon their strength-training efforts, opting instead for strictly cardiovascular activities. However, researchers suggest combining aerobic exercise with regular strength training for maximum benefit. Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2001; 33, 932-938