Bee Healthy: Strength training important if you want to lose weight

March 15, 2014 

I see questions online from men and women wondering why they are not losing weight even though they are logging hours on the treadmill weekly. They are asking: Why isn’t cardiovascular training enough?

It is true that that cardio burns more calories than weight training and has positive effects on the body such as stronger heart and lungs. Cardio also reduces stress and the risk of heart disease. However, cardio alone is not the best method for weight loss.

A great deal of emphasis has been placed on cardio and diet for weight loss. The benefits of incorporating strength training (also referred to as weight training) have not been given enough attention. When you focus only on cardio and diet, you run the risk of losing muscle mass.

Strength training will help reduce body fat by increasing lean muscle tissue, which raises your metabolism. Therefore, the more muscle you have on your body, the more fat your body burns, even when you are at rest.

If weight loss is one of your fitness goals, strength training along with cardio and a healthy diet can help you shed fat and increase muscle tone.

One effective method for losing weight is circuit-style strength training, which elevates your heart rate, burns calories and builds muscle all at once. This involves doing strength exercises and working in short bursts of cardio exercise between each set.

For example, you could do 15 pushups and then do a lap around the track or jump rope for three minutes, followed by another set of strength exercises.

It is important to remember to consult your physician before beginning a fitness program.

Suzanne Pickens is a health information consultant at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation.

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