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Lifting weights can be good for your heart health.
Researchers at Iowa State University found that lifting weights less than an hour per week can reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by as much as 40 to 70 percent.
The study, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, is among the first to look at the benefits of strength training for heart health.
The study followed 12,591 subjects who received two clinical examinations between 1987 and 2006. Researchers considered three health outcomes: cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke that did not involve death, cardiovascular events that resulted in death, and any type of death. It found that resistance training reduced the risk of all three.
“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 the study’s lead author, D.C. Lee, associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends including some form of strength or resistance training at least twice a week, along with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.
Strengthening your muscles provides a variety of health benefits, such as building bone health, managing chronic conditions and improving your overall health. Adding muscle also helps boost your metabolic rate, which in turn helps you burn more calories.
The Iowa State study also found that regular strength training lowered the risk of high blood pressure by 32 percent and decreased the chance of developing metabolic syndrome, which increased the risk of heart attack by 29 percent.
The AHA recommends working out each muscle group twice a week with two days of rest between workouts.
The fitness experts at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness can help develop a weight training program that works for you and provide guidance on weight training techniques.
While the thought of exercising after a heart attack or stroke may be daunting, regular physical activity can help in both cases.
If you are recovering from a cardiovascular event such as stroke or heart attack, consult with your physician to come up with an exercise plan that is right for you.
Your heart is in expert hands when you choose Edward-Elmhurst Heart Hospital for your cardiovascular care. Learn more.
Know your risk for heart disease. Take a free, 5-minute test that could save your life.
Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago:
Five ways to prevent a heart attack
Five cardiac risk factors you need to know
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