Feel Better, Stronger & Thinner

Weight training does more than build lean mass. Scientists from the University of Alberta in Canada compared the effects of 16-week exercise programs focused on either aerobic or resistance training. The aerobic work was performed on treadmills and elliptical machines while the resistance training subjects used barbells and dumbbells. Those who pumped iron experienced improved Body Mass Index scores, less fatigue throughout the day and a 60% reduction in lower back pain. The aerobic group lost weight and gained energy too. But since their efforts worked mostly leg muscles, they realized only a 12% improvement in back issues.

The Bigger Picture: Although the researchers didn't have a group of subjects engage in both aerobic and resistance training, that approach may have yielded even better results especially if diet was closely monitored. Everyone responds differently to physical exercise, so doing a little bit of everything and working your way up to bigger challenges makes perfect sense. Be sure to alternate your aerobic and resistance training so that you aren't doing the same type of training on consecutive days. This strategy also provides ample time for resistance training recovery.
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