A Case For Whole Body Exercise

You want to drop a couple of pounds to fit into this swimsuit that'll be on sale next week, so you're grinding out hours of cardio on the treadmill. Maybe you're taking this approach to the next level with serious interval training. That might be all well and good for weight management, but if you want to keep your bones healthy the research points to whole body conditioning.

A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports examined the bone mineral content of 52 young competitive female gymnasts, 46 actively competing runners and a control group of 46 non-athletic girls. Samples were examined from the spine and neck, and scientists repeated their measurements 7 years later. Over both other groups, the gymnasts exhibited the highest bone mineral content in both upper and lower body locations.

The Bigger Picture: Gymnasts must maintain strong upper and lower body muscles to be successful. What this research suggests is that focusing only on lower body strength, like the competitive runners, has drawbacks that can impact your abilities later in life. It's a good idea to combine cardio training with resistance exercise. That's true whether your goal is bigger muscles or a quicker time in the 100-yard dash.
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