Strength Training Key to Protecting Against Heart Disease - Virtua Cardiology, NJ

Strength Training Key to Protecting Against Heart Disease

By , Cardiologist—Virtua Cardiology

Some might look for the fountain of youth in the medicine cabinet, cosmetic aisle or dermatologist’s office. But, the true key to staying healthy, vibrant, and independent may lie somewhere else entirely: the weight room.  

Strength or resistance training brings a range of benefits that counteract aging-related declines, including heart disease. Studies have shown strength training can be just as effective as aerobic activity for protecting against heart attack and stroke. 

However, only 30 percent of adults engage in muscle-strengthening activities twice a week as recommended. 

Perks of pumping up

You don’t have to be a body builder to appreciate the benefits of strength training. Strength training helps you build lean muscle mass, which in turn allows you to burn more energy. You improve blood flow, reduce excess fat, and continue doing the activities you enjoy. 

Strength training can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase your HDL “good” cholesterol and reduce your LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Eliminate the visceral, or belly, fat in your midsection and around your organs 

Resistance exercises also lift your mood, relieving anxiety, anger, and confusion while expanding your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Time to get lifting          

You don’t need much time to reap these rewards. A recent study found that performing at least an hour of weekly weight training lowered by 17 percent the risk of developing metabolic disorder—a group of risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar that can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

And you don’t need to belong to a gym or have fancy home equipment, either. You can use heavy household items like soup cans or water bottles, or even your own body weight.

But talk to your doctor before you start. He or she can recommend the best mix of aerobic and strength exercises for you.

Updated May 12, 2020

HeartTalk icon

Read HeartTalk Magazine Online!

HeartTalk offers articles, tips and resources to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. You'll find a wealth of information, from expert articles on preventing and managing heart disease, to nutrition and fitness classes, and more!

Read the latest digital issue, or explore past issues, here

You may also like

A Cardiologist’s Heart-Saving Advice on When to Seek Emergency Care - Virtua Health, NJ

A Cardiologist's Advice on Heart-Saving Emergency Cardiac Care

It's understandable why people are afraid to go to the ER during this pandemic. But, if you have the symptoms of a cardiac emergency, it's vital—and safe—to get immediate help.

Read More
How to Increase Your Good Cholesterol While You Decrease the Bad - Virtua Cardiology, NJ

How to Increase Your Good Cholesterol and Decrease the Bad

When it comes to your cholesterol, there's the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL). Learn how boosting your good cholesterol number can help lower your bad cholesterol number.

Read More
HeartTalk-magazine-thumb

HeartTalk Magazine

HeartTalk magazine helps you stay well through a focus on living a heart-healthy lifestyle, with the latest expert advice on preventing and managing cardiovascular disease.

Read More
Showing 3 of 45