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One Hour Per Week of Resistance Exercise May Help Combat Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other diseases. These risk factors include central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. A recent study suggests that spending an hour per week at the gym performing resistance exercises may reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by up to 29%.


Participants in the study included 7,418 middle-aged people who had preventive examinations at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas between 1987 and 2006. At the onset of the study, all of the participants were healthy and had no signs of metabolic syndrome.


Over the course of the study period, 15% of the participants developed metabolic syndrome. However, those who performed two or more sessions per week of resistance exercise had a 17% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those who did no resistance exercise. Further analysis revealed that one hour per week was associated with a 29% reduced risk.


The researchers found no additional effects from more intensive exercise, nor did it matter if the participants exercised only on weekends or throughout the week.


Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre led the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 14, 2017 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


Resistance exercise is any exercise that causes muscles to contract when met with external resistance. Popular examples include weightlifting and body-weight exercises. Resistance exercise helps improve muscle strength and tone, which protects joints from injury, helps with weight management and increased fat to muscle ratio and may help reduce cognitive decline.

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