Resistance training is a key part of my exercise routine, generally two 45 min sessions a week.
Dr Kathryn Schmitz, at U Penn, has shown:
In the so-called SHE study (for Strong, Healthy and Empowered)… resistance exercise significantly slowed middle-age weight gain, especially the accumulation of abdominal or visceral fat, which has been linked to such ills as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
“The obesity epidemic is hard to reverse,” Schmitz says. “Instead of trying to look like Halle Berry, let’s reframe success as maintaining your current weight.”
In the study, the abdominal fat of women who lifted weights twice a week increased 7 percent over two years. By contrast, the abdominal fat of women in the control group, who did no strength training, increased by 22 percent.
Weightlifting has this effect because muscle tissue is metabolically active. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest. Plus, the more muscle you have, Schmitz theorizes, the easier it is to be physically active. After months of lifting weights, women in the study could carry canoes farther than their husbands when portaging in Minnesota’s lake country.