Nearly thirty five percent of Americans will develop metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that are a huge red flag that your chance of developing diabetes or heart disease is skyrocketing.1
Forty seven million of us already have the syndrome. And experts say one out six people will eventually be diagnosed with it.
Your odds for metabolic syndrome get worse with age. Folks 60 years old or older have a 50 percent chance of developing it.
5 symptoms of metabolic syndrome
Following are five risk factors for metabolic syndrome:
1. A big belly:
Carrying around excess fat in your belly, or having what folks commonly call an apple shape, is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. A large waist is linked to heart disease.
2. Skyrocketing triglycerides:
High levels of this fat, which is found in your blood, raises your risk for metabolic syndrome. Your body uses triglycerides for energy, but levels that are too high are linked to heart disease.
3. Basement low HDL:
HDL, or “good” cholesterol, helps to keep your arteries clear by removing cholesterol. Low HDL is linked to heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
4. Rising blood sugar:
If your blood sugar runs a bit high even when you haven’t eaten for a while (such as in the morning before breakfast, for example) this is considered a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Known as insulin resistance it’s also a sign of early or pre diabetes.
5. High blood pressure:
If your blood pressure is above normal and stays elevated over time it can lead to plaque building up and heart damage. It’s also considered a sign of metabolic syndrome.
If you develop at least three of these metabolic risk factors your doctor will likely diagnose you with metabolic syndrome. Which means you’re at higher risk for stroke, heart attack and damaging blood sugars.
Slash your risk nearly 30 percent
But now researchers says committing less than one hour a week to this one activity could lower your risk for this devastating syndrome.2
The new study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, included over 7,000 volunteers who were healthy and didn’t have metabolic syndrome at the start of the study.
Folks who did any amount of resistance training, such as using free weights or a resistance machine at the gym, significantly lowered their chance of a diagnosis.
In fact, dedicating less than an hour a week to the resistance training slashed their risk of metabolic syndrome by a stunning 29 percent.
Putting resistance training to work for you
Resistance training, also known as strength training, isn’t just good for battling metabolic syndrome alone.
As we get older we start to lose bone and muscle mass. Using free weights, resistance bands, the weight of your own body against gravity (such as leg lifts or planks), or machines designed for resistance training can help you fight that decline.
If you’re new to strength training it’s best to start slow and with a lighter weight if you’re using free weights. Visiting a gym? Ask a trainer to help you develop a good routine.
Or if you’re working out at home try YouTube for some easy and fun resistance routines you can do with resistance bands or hand weights. You can even add a resistance element to your walks by strapping on some ankle and wrist weights.
Aim for two 30 minutes sessions a week for the most benefits, and to drastically reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome.