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Metabolic Effects of Resistance Training

metabolic effects of resistance trainingResistance training is a powerful tool that not only builds strong muscles and strengthens bones but can alter your metabolism to benefit your overall health. Thus, lifting weights is important for those with high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol. Weight training sparks molecular change that can ultimately prevent or improve chronic disease in many people.

Over the past two BHealthy issues, we have been exploring how weight training can benefit particular chronic illnesses and problems.

First, we explored weight training and diabetes, which you can read here.

Second, we explored weight training and high blood pressure, which you can also read here.

Here, we’ll briefly explore the effects of weight training on obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the years 2015 and 2016, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected over 93 million of adults in the United States. 42.8% of adults between the ages of 40 and 59 are considered obese - that's eerily close to half of Americans being obese. Even young Americans have seen a steady rise in obesity. 18.4% of kids ages six to 11 are obese in the U.S.

We know that obesity, if left untreated or unmanaged, can lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. The CDC also estimates that the average medical cost for those who are considered obese is $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, in one year.

A body mass index (BMI) over 30 is a general indicator of obesity. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adults. It’s a person’s weight in kilograms divided by height squared in meters.

Resistance training exercises help tackle obesity because they increase lean body mass while simultaneously shrinking fat mass.

Many studies show that weight training can help reduce visceral fat levels, which, in turn, can help treat or lower the risk of high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The metabolic stress, mechanical tension and exercise damage in muscle cells caused by resistance training triggers the body to increase its muscle protein synthesis, which when performed consistently should boost muscle mass. Long-term muscle mass growth leads to increased resting metabolic rate – or the calories we burn while at rest – and ultimately resulting in larger caloric expenditure, which triggers weight loss.

Exercise Suggestion:

A variety of resistance training methods can increase muscle mass, reducing the risk of obesity. Volume, meaning sets + repetitions + load, is vital in improving muscle mass. A study referenced by Fitness Journal found that muscle growth resulted from:

Greater than five sets and less than ten sets.
Conclusion: 5-9 sets is the sweet spot for muscle growth.