When you stop to think about it, some of the biggest fitness trends of the last five years have had aerobic exercise as their focus.  From SoulCycle and barre workouts to Zumba, the most popular routines all share common characteristics: whole-body movement and a playful approach to aerobic activity.  The issue, as Time points out, is that one crucial type of exercise has become increasingly unpopular: strength training.

As the Ministry of Health details, roughly half of New Zealanders meet the government recommendation of 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least 3 times per week, it’s unknown how many hit the goal when it comes to muscle-strengthening workouts.

If you’ve typecast weightlifting as a muscle-pumping workout, it could drastically impact your health.  A new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reveals those who incorporate strength training into their routine reap long-term benefits.

“Women who reported participating in any amount of strength training were more likely to have a lower BMI [and] more likely to engage in healthy dietary patterns,” the authors wrote, drawing on data from almost 36,000 women.  Additionally, those who incorporated strength training into their routine also had a 30% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and 17% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

So what is the best workout for women?  Aim for 120 minutes of aerobic exercise per week with some strength training.  Researchers found that this combination led to a 65% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Inspired to change up your fitness regimen? Share with us what your plans are for 2017 in the comments below!

Comments