Just a Small Amount of Strength Training Can Improve Heart Health

According to a study, strength training for less than one hour every week could reduce heart attack or stroke risk by 40% –  70%, and just 2 sets of bench presses which take under 5 minutes to perform can be effective. The researchers discovered that spending more than sixty minutes strength training a week didn’t yield any further cardiovascular disease risk benefits.[1]

The study results show that the strength training benefits are independent of walking, running, or any other aerobic activity. This means that the recommended aerobic physical activity guidelines don’t have to be met for lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke, strength training on its own is sufficient. Data was analyzed from almost 13,000 individuals, and the data from 3 health outcomes was assessed: any type of death, all cardiovascular events which included death, and cardiovascular events like heart attack or stroke that didn’t result in death. Resistance exercise lowered the risk for all 3 health outcomes.

Resistance exercise isn’t as easy to integrate into a daily routine compared with aerobic activity. Individuals can easily move more by biking or even walking to the office or using the steps, but there aren’t many natural activities involving lifting. And although individuals might have a stationary bike or treadmill at home, they likely don’t have use of a range of weight machines.

Therefore, a gym membership could be worthwhile. It doesn’t only offer more methods of resistance exercise, but in an earlier study it was found individuals having a gym membership exercised more. Although this current study looked exclusively at making use of weight machines and free weights, individuals will still reap the benefits of other resistance exercises or any activity that strengthens the muscles.  Lifting any weight which increases resistance on the muscles will be of benefit. The muscles don’t know the difference between lifting a dumbbell and carrying heavy shopping bags.

Most of the studies on strength training have concentrated on physical function, bone health, and quality of life in elderly individuals. With regards to lowering cardiovascular disease risk, running or other cardio activity comes  to mind. Weight lifting is equally as beneficial for the heart, as well as additional benefits.

Making use of the same dataset, the association between resistance exercise and high cholesterol as well as diabetes was investigated. The 2 studies found the risk for both was reduced with resistance exercise.

Less than sixty minutes of resistance exercise a week in comparison to no resistance exercise was linked to a 29% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which increases diabetes, heart disease and stroke risk. High cholesterol risk was 32% lower. The study results were also independent of aerobic exercise.

Building muscle helps with joint and bone mobility, but muscles are also calorie burning which provides metabolic benefits. When muscle is built, more energy is burnt when aerobically inactive. This also helps in preventing obesity and providing long-term benefits on a variety of health outcomes.

Benefits Of Strength Training

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