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Increased Muscle Strength Reduces Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

The benefits of exercise are well-known. In addition to increasing one's strength and endurance, exercise - specifically, resistance-type exercise - lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and can help reduce body weight. A new study also suggests that increasing muscle strength with resistance exercises can lower a person's risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

In the study, more than 3,200 men (ages 20 to 80) who did not have metabolic syndrome had their fitness levels measured using leg-press, bench-press and treadmill tests. Follow-up tests were conducted an average of 6.7 years after the initial series of tests. During the follow-up period, 480 men were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

Men who demonstrated the greatest muscle strength were much less likely to be at risk of developing metabolic syndrome than men with the lowest muscle strength. Overall body weight did not appear to be a contributing factor, as men with a normal body mass index were 44 percent less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, and men considered overweight or obese were 39 percent less likely to be at risk.

Exercise plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are designed primarily to increase muscle mass; others improve overall muscle tone; and still others target weight loss and reductions in body fat. If you are interested in improving your fitness levels, talk with your doctor of chiropractic about designing an exercise program that's right for you. For more information, visit

Jurca R, Lamonte MJ, Barlow CE, et al. Association of muscular strength with incidence of metabolic syndrome in men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, November 2005;37(11):1849-1855.