Posted on Mar 19, 2019, 11 p.m.
Being physically active does not just help you to lose weight, it also helps to improve your cardiovascular health. Many studies prove physical activity is key to heart health, but neither research or recommendations consistently differentiate the benefits of different forms of physical activity.
All physical activity is beneficial, but according to a study presented at the American Colleges of Cardiology static activities such as strength/resistance training are more strongly associated with lower risk of heart disease than dynamic activities such as running, biking, and walking.
“Strength training and aerobic exercises are both great for cardiovascular health even at small amounts,” explains Dr. Maia P. Smith of St. George’s University.
Findings suggest static activity is more beneficial compared to dynamic exercises, subjects who did both types of activity had better results that those who increased levels of one form of activity.
Cardiovascular risk factors were assessed such as being overweight, diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure as a function of self reported static or dynamic activity using data gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was adjusted for gender, age, smoking habits, as well as ethnicity, and was then stratified by the age groups 21-44 and 45+ years old. 36% of the younger group and 25% of the older group took part in static exercises; and 28% of the younger group and 21% of the older group took part in dynamic exercises.
Taking part in either form of exercise was determined to be linked to 30-70% lower rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors, with the strongest associations for static activity seen in youth. Both forms of activity were equally popular in both groups.
Strength/resistance training challenges the muscles with stronger than usual counterforce, by using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance can make muscles stronger. Such exercises increase muscle mass, strengthens bones, and tones muscles, while helping to ensure you maintain the strength required for daily activities such as lifting groceries or climbing stairs.
Current guidelines recommend strength exercises for all major muscle groups be done about twice a week, with sets of at least 8-12 repetitions of the same movements per session as being effective.
To help improve heart health with a strength training/resistance program you should always start with a warm up and end with a cool down; maintain proper form; work at a slow and steady tempo; breathe properly during workouts; challenge the muscles with slow increases; follow a routine that works for you; work major muscles 2-3 times a week; rest for at least 48 hours before you start the next strength training session; and don’t give up results take work and time.
It may be best to consult your physician before starting any exercise program, and if you are unsure of how to maintain proper form there are many certified personal trainers that would be happy to help you to ensure that you do not hurt yourself.
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