Benefits of Weight Training

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I’ve been itching to pass this info along since I first read it in the January 2010 issue of Oxygen women’s fitness magazine.  The article is called ‘The Hidden Benefits of Strength Training.’

There were a few benefits I hadn't heard before.  To summarize some of them (from the article):

1. Flatter belly

Overweight participants in one study who engaged in 2x weekly strength training lost more total body fat including more abdominal fat than the control group that did only cardio. 

Up until now, we’ve been told that strength training had little effect on overall body fat composition.

2. Less risk of diabetes

Recent research has shown that strength training reduces the risk of diabetes.  The mechanism is thought to have to do with how strength training reduces the fat inside the muscles and alters fat metabolism.
 

3.  Reduction in blood pressure

A study published in 2009 confirmed that even an hour of strength training per week can reduce your blood pressure enough to cut your risk of a stroke by 25%.
 

4.  Lower risk of breast cancer

Regular strength training can reduce your risk by 20-40%.  It’s thought to be due to how strength training reduces body fat and therefore estrogen levels.   Fat cells produce estrogen.  Cut down the fat and the estrogen levels drop as well.

5.  Less sick days

Subjects in a study done in Japan in 2008 found that strength training 3-4x per week for 8 weeks increased the number of natural Killer-T cells in their bodies.

I want more of them just because the name is cool.  If I was a cell, I'd want to be the Killer kind. 

6. Healthier joints

A 2009 study found that women with stronger quadriceps and hamstrings have lower incidences of knee osteoarthritis.   The article doesn’t explain, but I’m guessing it has to do with how strong muscles can absorb some of the force that tends to cause wear on the joints.

Check out this article at sparkpeople.com for some other strength training benefits: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=636



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