No other exercise cuts your stroke risk like this
No other exercise cuts your stroke risk like this by Erin Elizabeth – Health Nut News
Strength training is foundational for good health, especially as you get older. Importantly, lifting weights is not just about keeping your musculature strong; it has a number of other health benefits that at first glance may seem unrelated, including improved metabolism, cognition, and mental health.
Strength training is also important for heart health, and recent research shows less than an hour of strength training per week can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke anywhere from 40 to 70 percent.
(The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both.)
Weight Training Is Cardiovascular Exercise
It’s worth remembering that cardiovascular exercise involves any physical exertion during which your heart and respiratory rates accelerate. While most people equate cardiovascular exercise with aerobic exercises such as running or cycling, fitness experts note you cannot fully access your cardiovascular system unless you’re performing mechanical work with your muscles.
Weightlifting Protects Against Heart Attack and Stroke
The study in question, which had a mean follow-up of 5.4 and 10.5 years, analyzed data from nearly 13,000 adults taking part in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, looking at three health outcomes:
- Nonfatal cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke
- All cardiovascular events, including death
- All-cause mortality
Strength training reduced the risk for all three. According to the authors:
“Compared with no resistance exercise, weekly resistance exercise frequencies of one, two, three times or total amount of one to 59 minutes were associated with approximately 40 to 70 percent decreased risk of total cardiovascular disease events, independent of aerobic exercise.
However, there was no significant risk reduction for higher weekly resistance exercise of more than four times or ≥60 minutes.”
The fact that the cardiovascular benefits of weightlifting were independent of aerobic exercises such as walking and running means strength training is sufficient in and of itself. It alone will lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, even if you don’t meet the recommended guidelines for aerobic activity.