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Paige Waehner

Fit Fact: Lifting weights strengthens your heart

By December 3, 2010

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We all know about the many benefits of lifting weights - It strengthens your muscles and bones, changes your body composition for the better and keeps your metabolism going. However, If you need another reason to pick up those weights, there's an even greater benefit: It may actually keep your heart healthy.

In a recent study, scientists compared blood vessel response for aerobic exercise and strength training and found that lifting weights has a unique effect on blood pressure and blood flow to the limbs. It lowers blood pressure for up to 40 minutes after exercise and it increases blood flow to the active muscles in the limbs.

What's interesting about this is that we've spent time studying aerobic exercise and its heart-healthy benefits, but now we're seeing how important strength training is as well. Too often, we focus on cardio exercise because it burns the most calories but, as this study suggests, weight training is just as important and a great complement to your cardio workouts.

What do you think? Does this motivate you to lift weights or do you already have all the motivation you need? Leave a comment and tell us what you think about weight training.

Get started with strength training.

Source:

Collier, SR, Diggle, MD, Heffernan, KS. Changes in Arterial Distensibility and Flow-Mediated Dilation After Acute Resistance vs. Aerobic Exercise. J Strength Cond Res 24(10): 2846-2852, 2010.

Comments
December 3, 2010 at 6:40 am
(1) edwin says:

Yes I agree with the study. There are already many benifits to weight training. I’m sure glad its extra good on my heart.

December 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm
(2) Theron says:

One more reason I just love Crossfit! We get it all.

December 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm
(3) Julie says:

I read that people lose muscle every year as they get older, so I lift weights three times a week to try to hold on to what I’m losing. ;)

December 4, 2010 at 9:35 am
(4) Richard says:

I have been lifting weights since I was 15 years old. I’m now 68 and look and feel 50. I still play baseball and think this is because of weight training. I work out 6 times a week splitting my routine with three days upper body and three days lower body.

December 4, 2010 at 11:24 am
(5) Lee says:

I’ve been lifting waights for 35 yrs. I’m now 76 yrs old. I feel that waights and arobics training has allowed me to continue to do the things I love.
I’m a small man. 5′ 6″ 150 lbs. and still hike and walk long distances with my wife of 52 yrs.
We work out three to four days a week.

December 4, 2010 at 9:58 pm
(6) Frank says:

I like to lift 3 days per week because I look better and feel better I also run 5 days per week , my pant size went from 36 loose fit to 33

December 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm
(7) Brad says:

As a cancer survivor, nothing is better than free weights. great article. Given a 50% chance at living 5 years; I believe exercise is why I can write this message after 4 years. Yea!

December 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm
(8) Kurt says:

I started lifting weights 12 years ago to complement my largely aerobic fitness training. I noticed an immediate positive difference in my fitness, overall muscle tone and attitude. I’ve stuck with weight training because of these benefits…maybe my body has been telling me what the research has clarified…you do feel better with a weight training program as part of your fitness program.

December 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm
(9) Alice says:

I don’t pay attention to studies. I have been lifting for about 8 years on a regular basis. I enjoy being strong and belive that any physical activity is good for your body in one way or another. I’m not really concerned with the specifics.

December 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm
(10) John says:

I think I sleep better when I’m actively lifting, which probably helps keep the ticker in shape. The best cure for insomnia I ever found was a couple medium sets around the major muscles. It’s not even about the total weight or working to failure or getting a burn. It’s something about pumping one’s self up out of the couch.

December 7, 2010 at 6:10 am
(11) Fitness fan says:

Cardio exercise that maximizes blood flow, and oxygen flow through the body, keeps the cardiovascular and respiratory systems operating at their peak.

The realization that resistance training helps keep blood vessels more dilated and pliable reinforces the need for resistance training as well.

The combination of cardio and resistance training together with a healthier diet is the key. Those of us who have been down that road know how hard it is to start an exercise program and how hard it is to keep it alive.

Ordinary activity is also a key. Sitting in front of a computer all day long will negate the effects of exercise. Getting up and moving about, doing household chores and gardening, is essential for good health. An active exercise program will aid in controlling weight.

The activity and positive attitude contribute to a feeling of self-confidence, wellness, and alertness. The ability to face and effectively deal with other challenges as they arise is reinforced by meeting the challenge of maintaining our fitness and health.

December 7, 2010 at 11:57 am
(12) Dee says:

I agree- weight lifting is a great addition to a cardio program. I think some people i see in the gym lift weights that are too heavy for them.

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