Resistance training linked to reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, independently of aerobic exercise
Two articles on PainSci cite Bakker 2017: 1. Strength Training Frequency 2. Chronic, Subtle, Systemic Inflammation
PainSci commentary on Bakker 2017: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This study found a delightful link between resistance training and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome (a set of biological dysfunctions which is strongly linked to poor fitness, obesity, aging … and pain).
Participating in resistance exercise, even less than 1 hour per week, was associated with a lower risk of development of metabolic syndrome, independent of aerobic exercise. Health professionals should recommend that patients perform resistance exercise along with aerobic exercise to reduce metabolic syndrome.
But a link is not a cause, of course, and Bakker et al. say nothing about this crucial point. There are a variety of reasons that people who lift weights might also have a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
For instance, genetic pleitropy: that is, if you have the genetic gifts that make weight lifting more effective, the same genes might well also give you some immunity to metabolic syndrome. If this is the case, it actually flips the causality: fitter people may train more because they are fitter.
Examples of genetic predisposition causing exercise behaviour are clear mainly at the extremes, in elite athletes and couch potatoes. The more extreme the exercise or sedentariness, the more likely it is to be driven by genetic factors making activity more or less comfortable, rewarding, etc. Meanwhile, exercise can definitely cause fitness! And that effect is probably dominant in the average person … and so genetics is not necessarily a major confounding factor in a bunch of regular folks.
So a major confounding factor like genetic pleitropy is plausible, but hardly a given. There is so much evidence that resistance training is a very healthy activity that there’s a fair chance that the link Bakker et al. identified is in fact a causal one.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the association of resistance exercise, independent of and combined with aerobic exercise, with the risk of development of metabolic syndrome (MetS).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study cohort included adults (mean ± SD age, 46±9.5 years) who received comprehensive medical examinations at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas, between January 1, 1987, and December, 31, 2006. Exercise was assessed by self-reported frequency and minutes per week of resistance and aerobic exercise and meeting the US Physical Activity Guidelines (resistance exercise ≥2 d/wk; aerobic exercise ≥500 metabolic equivalent min/wk) at baseline. The incidence of MetS was based on the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. We used Cox regression to generate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.
RESULTS: Among 7418 participants, 1147 (15%) had development of MetS during a median follow-up of 4 years (maximum, 19 years; minimum, 0.1 year). Meeting the resistance exercise guidelines was associated with a 17% lower risk of MetS (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.73-0.96; P=.009) after adjusting for potential confounders and aerobic exercise. Further, less than 1 hour of weekly resistance exercise was associated with 29% lower risk of development of MetS (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.56-0.89; P=.003) compared with no resistance exercise. However, larger amounts of resistance exercise did not provide further benefits. Individuals meeting both recommended resistance and aerobic exercise guidelines had a 25% lower risk of development of MetS (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.89; P<.001) compared with meeting neither guideline.
CONCLUSION: Participating in resistance exercise, even less than 1 hour per week, was associated with a lower risk of development of MetS, independent of aerobic exercise. Health professionals should recommend that patients perform resistance exercise along with aerobic exercise to reduce MetS.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
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