Weight Training for Heart Health

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Regular cardiovascular exercise is a well-known component of heart health, but a recent study shows that lifting weights may also reduce heart attack and stroke risk.

The American Heart Association has long held that to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, one needs to exercise for an average of 40 minutes at a ‘moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity’ 3-4 days each week. (Read more about cardiovascular exercise and lowering cholesterol and improving heart health in, How Much Exercise for Boosting Heart Health.)

But weight lifting to help cardio health is a new idea. Gretchen Reynolds explains in her New York Times article, Even a Little Weight Training May Cut the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke, that a recent study demonstrated that people who did resistance training—even a little—experienced a drop in cardiovascular risk. And a little can go a long way; Ms. Reynolds quotes the co-author of the study:

“The good news,” says Duck-chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, “is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise.”

I’ve never weight-trained before but am thinking it might be a perfect New Year’s resolution…

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