Just one hour of resistance exercise a week can have health benefits

Resistance exercise: just how much do you need to do?

Here’s some encouraging research news for busy people who want improve their health through exercise but don’t think they have the time. Undertaking less than 1 hour of resistance exercise training per week lowers the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS).

This is the finding of international research involving 7,418 middle-aged healthy adults from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study in America.

MetS is a condition characterised by the presence of glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, central obesity and high blood pressure. It is an important risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Resistance exercise improves muscular strength and endurance. During resistance exercise, you move your arms and legs against resistance provided by your bodyweight, gravity, elastic bands, weights or machines.

Researchers examining the development of MetS found adults who undertook two or more sessions of resistance exercise a week had a 17% lower risk of developing the syndrome. Even less than 1 hour per week was associated with a 29% lower risk when compared with no resistance exercise.

Being a weekend resistance exercise warrior is okay

According to the study authors, larger volumes of resistance exercise do not provide additional health benefits. They also suggest that it makes little difference if people spread their exercise throughout the week or take part in it as ‘weekend warriors’ only.

Lead author Esmée Bakker says, “Few studies have reported on the health effects of resistance exercise, and this is the first such study concerning metabolic syndrome.

“Our results indicate that a modest amount of resistance exercise, such as two 30-minute sessions per week, has the most beneficial effect.”

She advocates that health professionals recommend resistance exercise training, in addition to aerobic training, to prevent MetS and future cardiovascular disease.


Find out more about research on the effects of resistance exercise on metabolic syndrome