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Strength training may be best for women

women strength training Are you ready to pump some iron? Doing so can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, say the results of a new study on the positive health effects of strength training.

Researchers looked at data from over 35,000 women, ages 47 to 98, who participated in the Women’s Health Study to determine whether strength training had any effect on these conditions. The scientists used participants’ answers to a health survey that asked questions about physical activity, including strength training. They tracked those women to see who later had a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, and who developed type 2 diabetes.

The findings showed that women who engaged in strength training had a 30 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a 17 percent lower risk of heart disease than women who did none. Women who did both strength training and at least two hours of aerobic exercise a week had a 65 percent reduction in diabetes and a 39 percent reduction in heart disease compared with women who did neither. Aerobic exercise alone reduced diabetes risk by 48 percent and heart disease risk by 21 percent.

Strength training, either alone or with aerobic exercise, can help you:

  • Maintain or develop muscle mass
  • Build strong bones
  • Manage your weight
  • Improve your balance
  • Sharpen your thinking

More research is needed to determine the best amount and intensity of strength training for good health. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen or adding strength training to your current routine.