Though the benefits of lifting weights are well-researched and well known, there was one thing runners and cyclists could always hold over the heads of the strength training advocates: Heart health!
In other words, lifting weights has always been considered good for muscle and joint health, but when it came to avoiding heart attacks and strokes, we have been led to believe cardio, like running, walking, swimming or cycling, was also required.
Step aside runners: We don’t need you anymore!
New research recently presented at the American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference 2018 in Peru, discovered lifting weights is even better for the heart than going for a walk or run.
To come to these conclusions, researchers examined health records from more than 4,000 people and surmised that, while both running and lifting weights both do reduce the risk of heart disease, lifting weights had an even greater effect than traditional cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running or cycling.
Cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol, were taken into consideration during the research, as were age, ethnicity, gender, and whether the person was a smoker.
The findings: Any type of exercise reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease risk factors, but the best kind of exercise for reducing cardiovascular health problems is static exercise, such as lifting weights, as opposed to dynamic movements, like running.
One of the theories behind these results, which have also been backed up by previous research, is that heavy, static exercises provide the circulatory system a more effective workout because oxygen expenditure is more intense.
This study isn’t alone. Recent research from the Iowa State University () also says lifting weights just one hour a week can reduce your chances of heart-related problems by as much as 40 to 70 percent.
The Iowa State University research looked at data from close to 13,000 adults in a longitudinal study that measured three health outcomes: cardiovascular events like a heart attack that didn’t result in death, cardiovascular events that resulted in death, and any type of other event that resulted in death. They concluded that strength training reduced the risk of all three of the above.
Not only that, but you don’t need all that much of it. The research said just one hour a week of weight lifting/resistance training can have a huge effect on a person’s heart health.
This study also looked at the relationship between lifting weights/strength training and diabetes and high cholesterol, and showed that weight training lowered the risk of both. It also suggested one hour per week of strength training was associated with a 29 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
It might be time to ditch the treadmills and ellipticals (or at least reduce their use) and replace them with barbells and DBs…! Give us a shout and ask us how we can help steer you in the right direction.