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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Women Should Pump Iron to Manage Weight

If you are looking to keep the pounds off as you age, you will need to add some weight now - by lifting it, that is.  Research findings presented in the July 2010 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reveal that resistance training by postmenopausal women prevents weight gain and improves body composition.  The investigation was a secondary analysis derived from The Bone Estrogen Strength Training (BEST) study which evaluated the effects of weight training on bone mineral density (BMD) in early postmenopausal women.  For the intitial BEST investigation, subjects were first grouped according to treatment with or without hormonal therapy; then, they were randomly assigned to either an exercise or nonexercise group within their respective hormonal therapy category (those on hormonal therapy versus those who were not on hormonal therapy).

In this secondary investigation, researchers set out to examine the effects of resistance training on soft tissue changes and weight management in postmenopausal women.  Subjects included 122 females (mean age 56.3 years, give or take 4.3 years) who were previously sedentary.  After the the first year of intervention, the control subjects were allowed to begin the prescribed exercise regimen, or in other words "crossover."  This created 3 test groups: exercisers - those who were assigned to the exercise group at baseline (n=65); crossovers - those who crossed-over to the exercise program at one year (n=32); and true controls - those women who remained sedentary (n=25).

Exercisers and crossovers participated in 8 core resistance training activities for 2 sets of 8 repetitions each (at 70-80% 1-repetition maximum) on 3 nonconsecutive days/week.  They also engaged in various stretching, balance, and progressive weight bearing activities (e.g., stair stepping with weighted vests).  Exercise frequency and workloads of the various exercises were recorded.  Body weight and fat were measured at baseline and annually for 6 years using anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Researchers found that over the 6-year testing period, weight gain across the 3 testing populations occured in a "stepwise fashion."  That is, individuals who remained sedentary gained the most weight (approximately 2.1 kg) while crossovers gained approximately 0.7 kg and exercisers gained the least at 0.4 kg on average.  Women in the true control group significantly gained weight and total body fat between baseline and year 6.

The investigators conclude that participation in resistance training is a viable option for postmenopausal women to manage body weight.  They purport that it should be one component of a regular comprehensive exercise program to improve overall health and prevent disease.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, July 2010, Vol. 42 Issue 7, pp. 1286-1295, "Resistance Training Predicts 6-yr Body Composition Change in Postmenopausal Women," Bea. J.W. et al.,.

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