If you’ve packed on a few too many pounds, you know that extra body fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes. Your chiropractor will tell you that extra weight can contribute to low back pain. In fact, a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggest the growing problem of low back pain may be connected to our current obesity epidemic.[i]
When it comes to losing body fat through exercise, it’s important to understand that exercise falls into two types: aerobic and anaerobic. Your chiropractor knows that to effectively lose body fat and keep it off you need to participate in activities that use both kinds.
Aerobic exercise includes walking, cycling, swimming, and jogging. This type of exercise is usually performed for longer periods and uses a lot of oxygen to sustain the activity compared to anaerobic. These exercise activities speed up your metabolism and burn calories. As well as reducing body fat, aerobic exercise strengthens the heart, increases energy, lifts mood and boosts your immune system.
What is Resistance Training?
The flip side of the exercise coin is anaerobic exercise. Activities that fall into this category include weight lifting, push-ups, and pull ups. These types of exercises are also often referred to as resistance training. The goal is to build muscles through tension. Anaerobic exercises are usually performed in brief bursts with the muscles working at maximum intensity.
Considering that aerobic exercise is excellent at burning calories, why do you need to include resistance training as part of your weight loss strategy?
Part of the reason is how your body’s metabolism works at burning calories. When you do aerobic exercise, like jogging, your body’s metabolism speeds up and burns more calories. But a few hours after your jog, your metabolism returns to its resting metabolic rate (RMR). At this point your body burns virtually no calories. Also, aerobic exercise does not add much muscle mass. If you don’t keep your muscles in shape, your metabolism slows. Adding muscle mass then makes it easier for you to maintain a healthy body because muscles burn calories 24 hours a day.
Not Just for the Young
If you think resistance training is only suitable for younger people, you’ll be happy to find out that’s not actually true. In a study of older, obese adults suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee, an exercise program consisting of walking and weight training for one hour, three times a week saw the participants sustain weight loss goals and feel less pain. [ii]
In another study, healthy men between the ages of 50 and 65 did heavy resistance strength training for sixteen weeks. They saw their resting metabolic rates increase 7.7% and muscle strength by 40%.[iii]
Start Resistance Training the Right Way
Your chiropractor suggest implementing exercise into your weight reduction plan and can advise you on whether resistance training is appropriate for you. The good news is you don’t need to hit the gym constantly to build muscles. You can see good results with resistance training in as little as 30 minutes, three times a week.
Along with appropriate aerobic exercise, you’ll find it easier to lose body fat and build a lean physique. Your chiropractor will tell you first to take it slow with resistant training to avoid injury, and will also advise you to seek the aid of a certified fitness trainer to show you how to properly use weights and other resistance training equipment. Its well worth the time and effort to know how to do it right.
[i] The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain – Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009; 169(3): 251-258
[ii] Exercise and weight loss in obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis; a preliminary study study – Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University
[iii] Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in health 50 to 65-yr-old men – Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol 76, Issue 1: 133-137