Great Combo for a Healthy Weight: Walking and Weightlifting

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According to new research, you might control your weight better by practicing weightlifting at least twice per week. People who did the recommended amount of aerobic exercise (150 minutes or more per week of an activity like walking) were 28% less likely to be obese shows a study published in the journal Obesity. The study revealed that those who did the recommended amount of muscle-strengthening exercise (two or more sessions of weightlifting per week) were 30% less likely to be obese. But people who did the recommended amount of both forms of exercise had the lowest odds of obesity — they were 50% less likely to be obese.

According to the science

Associations between aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening exercise and obesity in such a large sample of adults (1.7 million people) were first analyzed by an Australian study. Study author Jason Bennie, PhD, a senior research fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia affirms: “Up until 2008, physical activity guidelines [including World Health Organization guidelines and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans] exclusively recommended aerobic exercise — it is only within the last decade that muscle-strengthening exercise has been included in physical activity guidelines,”.

Dr. Tim Church, MPH, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University says: “I believe resistance training and aerobic exercise work at different mechanisms at the muscular cellular level, like taking two different medications.”

Bennie adds: “There is some clinical evidence that doing both muscle-strengthening and aerobic exercise may result in an increased muscle mass, which leads to increased metabolic rate and/or total energy expenditure.”

Extra health benefits

The combination of aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening exercise helped people with diabetes improve their blood sugar levels as shown by another study from 2010 found.

People who walked on a treadmill for roughly 110 minutes each week and did muscle-strengthening exercises with weights twice a week for about 15 minutes each were able to lose about 3.7 pounds and lower their A1C numbers (which measures someone’s average blood sugar levels over the previous 3-month period) by 0.3 to 0.4 over a 9-month period. When people only did one type of exercise (aerobic or muscle-strengthening), the impact on A1C wasn’t as great.

In addition, Bennie says: “clinical exercise studies have identified that, compared with one mode alone, combining aerobic or muscle-strengthening exercise has unique cardiometabolic health benefits,”. “These include more favorable associations with cholesterol and insulin levels.”

Include strength training in your routine

It’s helpful to focus on several (but not all) muscle groups during each session — such as the arms, legs, chest, shoulders, back and trunk although there’s no set length of time that’s ideal for muscle-strengthening exercises. This may take 15–20 minutes.

In Conclusion

Church says: You lose [about] 1% of strength/muscle mass per year from age 40–50 on. “Muscle and strength are critical to healthy aging. [So] everyone stands to benefit from weightlifting.”

In order to maintain a healthy weight, better control your blood-sugar levels and experience other positive health benefits add weight training to your exercise routine.

In order to see if the combination of walking and weightlifting is effective for weight loss we would need more studies on this particular matter.

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