Editor’s note:¿This is the second of a two-part series on resistance training.
Last week, I¿listed five reasons why resistance training is an important component of a well-rounded workout. As promised, here are the remaining five of the top 10 reasons.
6. You'll reduce your risk of diabetes (and improve your quality of life if you have diabetes). Regular strength training at a moderate intensity helps prevent diabetes in a number of ways. First and foremost, lifting weights helps improve the way the body processes sugar. Researchers have also found weight lifting helps to improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. Additionally, resistance training improves heart health by controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which play a role in diabetes management. Researchers have also found that when people with diabetes lift weights, it can improve their quality of life. If you have diabetes, check out SparkPeople's Diabetes Workout Plan.
7. You'll lose more weight and look slimmer. Besides burning more calories and boosting your metabolism, lifting weights will also help you to lose more body fat. A study from Penn State University found that, on average, people who lift weights lose six more pounds of fat than those who don't pump iron. Again, it all comes down to muscle. When you cut calories and start exercising, your body has to pull energy to fuel your body from somewhere. When you're just focusing on dieting, the body uses fat for energy, but it also breaks down muscles for fuel (which is not a good thing). When you combine weight training with a reduced-calorie diet, however, you are actually helping to build and maintain muscle mass while you're losing weight. As a result, your body pulls more energy from your fat stores to keep you going, so you lose more fat while preserving muscle — a win-win!
8. You'll stand taller. If you are following a full-body strength training plan, don't be surprised if you start noticing yourself standing with better posture. Lifting weights can help to improve your range of motion, coordination, and the strength of the muscles that help keep your body upright. So just a few weeks of strength training can help you to stand taller, with your shoulders back and your chin up, which makes you appear more confident and look even slimmer!
You'll have better focus. Strength training has also been shown to boost brain health. According to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older women who did an hour or two of weight lifting each week improved their cognitive function, and did a better job planning and executing a variety tasks. So the next time your boss wants you to stay late and miss your regular evening workout, tell her your brain has work to do — at the gym!
10. You'll sleep better. Sometimes, exercising too close to bedtime can make it hard for you to fall asleep. But performing strength training (at least two hours before bedtime) has been shown to help prevent sleep apnea and help with insomnia. Not to mention that after a good weight-lifting session, it just feels good to hit the hay!
Check out next week’s column which will give tips to men and women on how to permanently transform their bodies!
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