Free Radical Damage Reduced through Weightlifting

September 30, 2012

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Weightlifting has been touted for its effects on building muscle mass, controlling weight and increasing metabolism, but new research has found that it may help to protect the body from free radicals – by-products of metabolism that contribute to many chronic diseases.

In a recent study, researchers examined the benefits of weightlifting on free radical damage and found that older adults between the ages of 60 and 85 who lifted weights three times a week had less free radical damage than those who did not lift weights. Participants who exercised but didn¹t lift weights experienced a 13-percent increase in free radical damage after exercise, compared to a 2-percent decrease in free radical damage in the low-intensity weightlifting group. The researchers measured free radical damage by examining the blood levels of lipid peroxides, which contribute to artherosclerosis.

The researchers noted that older adults who cannot lift heavy weights may still experience health benefits by lifting lighter weights, which may also decrease the risk of injury. In addition to protecting against free radicals, research has shown that weightlifting increases bone mass, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and lowers blood levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease.

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