Lifting weights protects heart
Lifting weights for less than one hour per week could reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by 40 to 70 per cent, according to new research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
This research found that less than one hour of lifting weights per week had a significant protective effect on long-term cardiovascular health.
However, lifting weights for more than one hour didn’t seem to lower the risk of stroke or heart attack any further.
The study found that the benefits gained by resistance exercises are independent of those gained from aerobic exercise. This means that the benefits from strength training were in addition to any health benefits gained from doing aerobic exercises like running, biking or swimming. So, even if you are a runner who hits the road every day, you could still boost your health significantly with an hour of resistance exercise per week.
This study followed 13,000 participants for more than 10 years and tracked three cardiovascular health outcomes: heart attack and stroke that did not result in death, all cardiovascular events including death and any type of death. The results showed that resistance exercise lowered the risk of all three of these outcomes by 40 to 70 per cent. The authors noted that the amount of resistance exercise to attain these benefits was fairly small at an hour or less per week.
“People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than five minutes could be effective,” said Duck-chul Lee, associate professor of kinesiology.
While visiting a gym is an excellent way to access resistance exercises equipment, you don’t need a gym membership to be able to get in a good resistance workout. Your occupation or work around the home could potentially give you a good amount of resistance exercise if you are lifting and/or moving around enough weight.
“Lifting any weight that increases resistance on your muscles is the key,” Lee said. “My muscle doesn’t know the difference if I’m digging in the yard, carrying heavy shopping bags or lifting a dumbbell.”
While over the years a large body of research has made it clear that aerobic exercise protects the cardiovascular system, this new research has shed significant light on the additional benefits of resistance exercise. A 30-minute session of resistance exercise two times per week is enough to attain the significant health benefits discovered in this study. Good examples of resistance exercise includes squats, leg press, bench press, pushups, military press, pullups, dumbbell curls, deadlifts, shovelling and carrying weighted items (bags, boxes, etc.)
If you have questions about your long-term health and fitness, ask your naturopathic doctor.
A new study has found that doing less than one hour of lifting weights per week can help reduce a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke by 40 to 70 per cent.