When was the last time you lifted weights or added resistance to your muscles? Our daily activities naturally increase our strength without us having to think about it. Lifting clothes baskets and grocery bags, raking leaves, pulling weeds, and washing the car are a few examples of daily activities that strengthen our muscles. These daily activities are good, but our body needs more specific resistance training than just daily activity movement.
Resistance exercise does more than just build muscles. Resistance exercise helps improve diabetes, lowers blood pressure, helps increase our resting metabolic rate, reduce obesity, and lowers high cholesterol. Resistance exercises help improve our overall metabolism and prevent chronic diseases (American Council on Exercise, ACE).
Diabetes affects about 30 million Americans. Their bodies don’t produce insulin or don’t respond well to insulin (insulin regulates the amount of sugar in the blood). Many Americans have pre-diabetes and don’t know it. Resistance exercises increase lean body mass and reduces body fat. The American Diabetes Association recommends doing 8 to 10 resistance exercises for a total body muscle workout two to three days per week.
High blood pressure affects about 80 million adults age 20 and older. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Studies show that 20 minutes of aerobic training and 20 minutes of weight training in 2 to 3 exercise sessions per week helped to reduce blood pressure in 8 to 10 weeks of training.
Resting metabolic rate is a measure of the calories we burn at rest and accounts for 50 to 75 percent of our daily calorie usage. Our body’s vital functions like our heart rate, breathing and brain function demand a lot of energy. Studies have shown that resistance exercises improve resting metabolic rate. Who wouldn’t want to have a higher calorie usage while resting?
Obesity affects about 40 percent of Americans. Many of us get tired of hearing about the obesity problem in our country. One way to help address the obesity problem is to perform resistance exercises. Resistance exercises increase lean body mass and help to shrink the mass of fat in our body.
High cholesterol affects about 95 million adults age 20 and older. Studies have shown that increasing the reps, sets and load when resistance training improves cholesterol levels more than just increasing the intensity. Blend aerobic exercise with resistance exercise for an even better improvement in cholesterol levels.
The bottom line is that resistance training increases our lean body mass or the mass of our body minus the fat. I don’t know too many people that wouldn’t mind reducing some fat on their body. If you’re one of these people, try resistance exercises in your week.
Here’s to your lean body mass and great metabolic health.
About the author
Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, www.manorhouse.org. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.