Sunday, July 3, 2011

Benefits of Weight Training for Chronic Health Conditions

Benefits of Weight Training for Chronic Health Conditions
The benefits that many of us derive from weight training are diverse 
and categorical, so I'm inclined to view them in two conveniently defined categories:
  1. Wellness, self-esteem and mind-body fusion and:
  2. Remediation and alleviation of injury or chronic health conditions
The distinction is that the first category is about preventing disease, 
staying physically and mentally fit, longevity, building good body image, 
doing sport, socializing and having fun; and the second category is more 
about treating diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, metabolic 
syndrome and quite a few more chronic disease states for which weight 
training has shown benefit.

Weight Training for Wellness and Mind-Body Fusion

Preventive health and the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and 
body image are the core concepts in this category.
Bodybuilding, Shaping, Sculpting and Competing
Some people get such self esteem and confidence out of bodybuilding, 

shaping and toning, and powerlifting, including competition, that many 
of the other benefits are almost secondary for them. It becomes a way 
of life and a satisfying one at that.
Try these Top Ten Exercises.
Weight Management You know about this one. Exercise of 30-60 
minutes each day helps to keep weight in check, especially if combined 
with a healthy, energy-neutral diet. Weight training is an essential part of 
the mix, enhancing muscle strength, tone and bulk and contributing to an 
efficient metabolism.
Strength and Balance
As you gain strength, joints and muscles work more efficiently together 

to increase your functionality all round including balance, flexibility, stamina 
and injury prevention. Weight training is heralding a revolution in the maintenance 
of functionality into older age. The muscle mass decline and the unsteadiness 
that goes with ageing may not be as inevitable as once thought.
Bone Strength and Density
Did you know that losing weight by calorie restriction alone can produce a 

decline in bone mass and density? Weight training is the ideal companion for any weight loss programbecause it helps maintain bone density while you're dropping 
those kilos. Muscle building and impact exercise strengthens bone by muscle and tendons impacting on the bone at the attachment points and producing growth stimulation.
Boost Wellness, Immunity and Sleep   It sounds like a tough call doesn't it? 
To do all these things with weight training, but let's look at it. Regular exercise 
tends to improves sleep patterns; that's no revelation. Moderate exercise and 
good sleep both enhance immune function. Put it all together with weight training 
and you'll do well.
"Wellness" is a catch-phrase for good health and being fit, energetic and 
resistant to disease. Regular, progressive weight training as part of an exercise 
ethic can improve your self-esteem, confidence and may help to prevent or 
even remedy depression.

Weight Training for Chronic Health Conditions

If you're unfortunate enough to have a chronic disease, that is, a persistent,
longer-term disease, weight training can probably help. In recent years progressive
 resistance training or PRT has been used in a wide range of disease settings 
in order to assist with day to day function or even to achieve more permanent

Weight training programs are increasingly being recommended in diabetes management.

Cardiovascular Disease
Weight training is increasingly approved in cardiacrehabilitation programs, usually to
complement aerobic training. With appropriate supervision and programming it has
been shown to be safe and effective in building strength and mobility and the capacity to complete a wider recovery training program. Cardiovascular disease includes heart
attacks, stroke, artery disease and heart failure.
Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms which can include excess weight,
high blood pressure (hypertension), glucose intolerance and high cholesterol.
Both aerobic training and resistance training provide benefits. High-intensity weight
training is ill-advised for those with uncontrolled hypertension.
DiabetesIn a randomized trial, high-intensity progressive resistance training in
type 2 diabetics improved glucose control, increased lean body mass, reduced
systolic blood pressure, reduced fat mass, reduced glycated hemoglobin A1c and
allowed a reduction in medication compared to a non-exercise control group.
(Castaneda 2002)
Strength training has been employed with success with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, for breast cancer patients post-surgery, and has been shown to
prevent and even reverse the adverse effects of testosterone suppression chemotherapy
in men with prostate cancer. Benefits in all situations included lean mass maintenance,
strength and fitness enhancement.
In one randomized trial, high-intensity progressive weight training was found to be
more effective than low-intensity weight training or medical care for the treatment of
older depressed patients. (Singh 2005)
Additional studies of resistance training for depression have produced positive results,
perhaps in relation to sleep and mood enhancement.
Evaluation of the effects of exercise on bone quality suggest variable results according
to age, hormonal status, nutrition and exercise type. However, in a review,
a Tufts University group stated that: "Both aerobic and resistance training exercise
can provide weight-bearing stimulus to bone, yet research indicates that resistance
training may have a more profound site specific effect than aerobic exercise." (Layne 1999)
Lung Function and Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation from, or management of deficiencies in lung function such as chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) usually involve aerobic exercise such as walking.
 In recent years however, strength training has also been trialled with some success.
It seems that strength and perhaps stability improvements provide the functionality to
increase exercise capacity and tolerance, resulting in better performance all round.
Parkinson's disease
A ground-breaking study found that high-force eccentric resistance training produced
improved mobility in Parkinson's disease patients compared to conventional care.
Eccentric training targets the return movement of joint action -- a straightening leg
under weight emphasizing the quadriceps muscle of the thigh for example. (Dibble 2006)
HIV/AIDSWeight training has been shown to be safe and provide benefits within
a general fitness program for sufferers of HIV/AIDS.
Arthritis and Fibromyalgia
Both osteoarthritis and autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis responded to strength
training with measurable benefit in carefully constructed programs of progressive
resistance training. The belief that joint inflammation, pain and inflexibility as a result
of arthritis are best treated with rest and little movement stress seems to have gone
right out the door as the exercise modalities prove their worth in maintaining and
perhaps restoring function. Optimum programs are still to be established.
Fibromyalgia patients have responded positively to resistance training.
The list above is probably not comprehensive :new applications of weight training for health conditions emerge regularly. I'll keep you updated.

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