Strength training, more than walking and cycling, significantly reduces heart disease risk
03/15/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Being physically active doesn't just help you lose weight. In fact, static training can also improve your cardiovascular health.

Static activities and heart health

Various studies have proven that physical activity is crucial for heart health, but neither research nor recommendations "consistently differentiate between the benefits of different types of physical activity."

According to a study – which was presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Latin America Conference 2018 in Lima, Peru – while all physical activity is beneficial, static activities such as strength training were more strongly associated with a lower heart disease risk compared to dynamic activities like biking and walking.

Dr. Maia P. Smith, a statistical epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George's University, explained that both strength training and aerobic exercises were good for cardiovascular health, "even in small amounts, at the population level."

The findings suggest that static activity seems to be more beneficial compared to dynamic exercise, and patients who did both types of physical activity had better results compared to others who simply increased the level of one type of activity.

For the study, the researchers assessed cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight as a function of self-reported static or dynamic activity (such as strength training compared to biking or walking) among 4,086 American adults.


The research team used data gathered from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Using the data from the survey, the researchers then adjusted for age, ethnicity, gender, and smoking habits. Finally, they stratified by age groups: from 21 to 44 years old or those older than 45.

Overall, 36 percent of younger and 25 percent of older adults took part in static exercises. Meanwhile, 28 percent of younger and 21 percent of older adults did dynamic exercises.

The scientists determined that taking part in either type of activity was linked to 30 to 70 percent lower rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors. They added that "associations were strongest for static activity and in youth." (Related: Twice as many deaths are caused by physical inactivity compared to obesity, stunning study finds.)

Smith shared, "One interesting takeaway was that both static and dynamic activity were almost as popular in older people as younger." She added that healthcare professionals should use this opportunity to advise older patients that it's beneficial to work out in the gym or take up activities such as walking or jogging.

The important thing is that regardless of your age, you can improve your heart and overall health by exercising regularly.

The health benefits of strength training

Strength (or resistance) training challenges the muscles with a stronger-than-usual counterforce, like pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell. By using progressively heavier weights or increasing resSistance, you can make your muscles stronger.

Strength training increases muscle mass, strengthens bones, and tones muscles. It also helps you maintain the strength necessary for daily activities like climbing the stairs or lifting the groceries.

The current national guidelines for physical activity recommend strength exercises for all major muscle groups, which includes your chest, abdomen, shoulders, arms, legs, hips, and back, about twice a week. A set of at least 8-12 repetitions of the same movement, per session, is effective.

If you want to improve your heart health with a strength-training program, take note of the tips listed below:

  1. Warm up and cool down for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Maintain proper form and don't obsess about the weight of your equipment. Your form is more important than the weight of your dumbbells.
  3. Work at the right tempo so you stay in control instead of compromising strength gains via momentum.
  4. Breathe properly during your workouts. Exhale as you work against resistance by lifting, pushing, or pulling, then inhale as you release.
  5. Challenge your muscles by slowly increasing weight or resistance.
  6. Follow a routine that works for you, then work all the major muscles of your body twice or thrice a week.
  7. Let your muscles rest for at least 48 hours before you start the next strength training session.

Find your groove and work out those muscles. Learn more at

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