The Role of Resistance Training in Weight Management
Resistance or strength training is classified as ‘anaerobic exercise’ and is the type of exercise that enhances power and builds muscle mass. The most common form of anaerobic exercise is strength exercise and the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.
There are many different methods of strength training, the most common of which are weight and resistance exercises such as lifting weights, using resistance bands or using your own body weight.
Emerging evidence suggests that resistance exercise is capable of boosting your overall calorie burning. Muscle burns energy, even at rest, because it is ‘active’ tissues (versus fatty tissue which is not active tissue). Therefore, increasing your muscle:fat ratio gives you a higher resting metabolic rate, so you burn more calories at rest as well as during planned or incidental exercise.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition drives the importance of focusing on strength training while managing your weight. The study looked at two groups of overweight individuals on identical diets. One group was given aerobic (cardiac) exercises only (walking, biking, and jogging 4 times per week), and the other group was given resistance training only three time per week.
After 12 weeks the resistance training group lost significantly more fat and didn’t lose any muscle. Not to mention, when resting metabolic rate was calculated after the study, it was found that the aerobic group was burning 210 fewer calories daily. In contrast, the resistance training group had increased their metabolism by 63 calories per day.
This makes resistance training perfect for anyone managing their weight as it stimulates the metabolism and unlike, cardiovascular exercise it continues to elevate the metabolism long after the training has ceased.
When properly performed, strength training can also provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being including increase bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and endurance, improved joint function, reduced potential for injury resulting from weak muscles, improved cardiac function and elevate ‘good” HDL-cholesterol.
Resistance training can also help maintain lean body mass which is important for individuals attempting weight loss or weight maintenance, decrease the risk of osteoporosis as well as develop coordination and balance.
As you can see resistance training plays an especially important role when it comes to managing your weight. Whilst it is recommended to include resistance training on at least 2 days/week as part of your weight management program, for long term benefits, a combination of aerobic and resistance training is recommended.
Consider how you can include resistance training as part of your weekly exercise plan to not only help you lose weight but improve your overall health.