It is a commonly accepted expression in Arab culture that a woman is fragile. Taken further, if she is to lift a weight, she may “break herself”. It is however, such an outdated belief that holds no truth, in fact, both women and men should aim to lift weights so that they can prevent disease.
The diseases that lifting weights can prevent are numerable and they include diabetes, asthma, arthritis, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, obesity and back pain. Strength training can even alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Despite cultural norms that enforce passivity, especially in regards to females, I have decided to explore the diseases that can be prevented and treated by physical activity.
Despite obesity becoming more prevalent in the Middle East, what happens to our fragile men and women when they are at risk of developing diabetes and cancer? Do they turn to surgeons after they have been diagnosed or can they prevent the risk of disease in the first place?
The latter is obviously the smarter but harder way to go about it. “Use it or lose it” is a more proactive approach, in my opinion at least. A strong and healthy body can tremendously improve one’s physical wellbeing. Passivity in regards to physical wellbeing will result in losing your body, unfortunately, this includes the development of diabetes and many more health-related diseases.
We can examine the benefits of strength training on disease, as it progressively fights against it, it is a continuous process against atrophy of the body’s immunity, hormone systems and lifespan. We therefore need an active understanding of our bodies, this is not linear. We progressively fight off disease, and we progressively include strategies for optimal wellbeing by arming ourselves with knowledge we’d rather save until we need to know. Let us, however, not only be active agents in knowledge but in application. By committing to even the simplest of strength training routines, we can actually spare ourselves from some harsh diseases that many are fighting today.
Strength Training can Prevent Cancer
A study conducted by the National Foundation for Cancer Research explored the effect of strength training in particular to find that “it is more effective than cardio at prolonging life…The study successfully factored in a myriad of health variables, such as age, health status and lifestyle. Even when accounting for these factors, the study found that strength training twice a week reduced the likelihood of dying from cancer by 31%.” (NFCR.org,2019) This demonstrates that strength training can actually help prevent cancer.
Strength training is not just limited to a gym membership, your fitness program can purely rely on bodyweight movements such as squats, pushups and crunches. These can also be done twice a week with the aim of preventing Cancer.
Strength Training Can Alleviate Symptoms of Anxiety
The Cancer Society also demonstrated that there is a link between movement and emotional stability. The idea can quite simply be that the body in movement is in a healing and restorative state. Due to this fact, it actually can calm us down and alleviate nervousness and anxiety, this benefit alone is quite powerful.
Strength Training can Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis
I was curious about the link between strength training and osteoporosis, a real issue for both males and females as they get older.
Harvard Health Publishing explored the link between exercise and strength training to find that exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. “Strength training, in particular, has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures another way — by cutting down on falls.” (Health.Harvard.edu)
So let us put aside the time for being passive and increase our lifespans through exercise, it is such a reward for your body as is proven by science.