Weekly Exercise Plan For Weight Loss

Resistance Training and Risk

Although aerobic exercise has been the focus of most large epidemiological studies, there is support for resistance training to reduce the risk of CVD. The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study also measured muscular strength in a cohort of men to determine its impact on CVD, cancer, and all-cause mortality. Following more than 10,000 men with 501 deaths, it was clear that those in the lowest-strength groups had the highest risk for all-cause mortality and a higher risk of death from CVD. Even when the data were adjusted for cardiorespiratory fitness, it was clear that muscular strength has a relationship with CVD and all-cause mortality.49 Age was also controlled for, and the inverse relationship between strength and CVD remained. The benefits of resistance training not only reduce all-cause mortality and CVD, but also increase functional capacity, increase ability to perform ADLs, and overall improve one’s quality of life.

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Exercise and Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America, and the numbers are continuing to increase. Although a cure or better treatment is medicine’s ultimate goal, the link between physical inactivity and certain types of cancers offers hope for prevention. The most recent reports estimate that one-third of cancer deaths each year are attributed to poor diet and an inactive lifestyle.70 The mechanisms for physical activity’s effect on cancer are not yet well understood, but this should not take away from the epidemiological evidence showing lower risk for regular exercisers.

Data from the Aerobics Longitude Study from the Cooper Institute (N = 10,265) were used to examine the relationship between muscular strength, CVD, and cancer. This is one of the few strength studies that used a more practical measure of upper and lower body strength, the one repetition maximum. Prior strength studies measured hand-grip strength, which does not indicate full-body strength. In this all-male cohort, 145 died from CVD and 199 died from cancer. Subjects were split into the following 3 strength groups: high, medium, and low. The upper 2 groups showed a significant reduction in risk of death from CVD and a significant reduction in risk of death from cancer compared to the low group. The risk of death from all causes and cancer remained significant even when the data were adjusted for differences in cardiovascular fitness and body weight. The risk of death from cancer was 1.45 times greater for the low strength group compared to those in the medium group and was 1.24 times greater when compared to the high-strength group.

In 2005, a cohort from the Nurses’ Health Study was used to determine the risk of breast cancer relative to levels of physical activity. The study included 2987 female nurses diagnosed with breast cancer between 1984 and 1998, and they were followed until 2002 or death. The risk of death from breast cancer was 20% to 30% higher in women who had less than 9 MET hours/week of physical activity. Nine MET hours is equivalent to 540 MET minutes, which is roughly 150 minutes/week of moderate physical activity. Women who engaged in 9 or more MET hours/week reduced their mortality rate by 6% compared to the group with the fewest MET hours. However, the researchers concluded that the greatest benefit was seen in women who walked 3 to 5 hours/week compared to the group that got less than 3 hours/week of activity.72

In 2009, a review article reported a link between physical activity and colon cancer risk reduction.73 Several studies were reviewed, and the researchers concluded that regular physical activity reduced the risk of colon cancer in men and women. According to the review, 7 hours/ week of activity had the greatest impact and lowered the risk by 40%. However, a reduction in tumor formation was seen for any duration greater than 1 hour/week. Also, a higher rate of survival after diagnosis was seen in those who were physically active for more than 4 hours/week, lowering overall mortality by 39% and disease-specific mortality by 51%.74

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