Lifting Weights Could Reduce Heart Attack Risk
A US study has found that lifting weights for less than an hour a week could reduce a person’s risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by up to 70%.
The study found a link between regular resistance exercises and diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels.
The study by Iowa State University in the US involved over 12,500 people, with an average age of 47. They had at least two medical examinations recorded for the study between 1987 and 2006.
They were also asked via a questionnaire about how much resistance exercise (lifting weights) they did per week.
The study looked at the number of cardiovascular events that happened to the participants. These included heart attacks and strokes.
Compared with those people who did no resistance exercise, those who did less than an hour of weight lifting a week had approximately 40–70% decrease in risk of having a cardiovascular event. This was independent of any aerobic exercise that the people did as well.
There was no difference in risk of cardiovascular events if people did more than an hour of weight lifting a week.
Cholesterol and metabolic syndrome
The researchers also looked at whether lifting weights regularly had an effect on other health issues, such as metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol.
They found that less than an hour of weekly resistance exercises was linked to a 29% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. There was a 32% lower risk of people developing high cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease.
The results of the study were published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise.
It is thought that by building muscle, more energy is burned, which prevents obesity and provides long-term benefits to health.
The authors of the study acknowledge that although the study focused on the use of free weights and weight machines in a gym, people would still benefit from other resistance exercise, which can be incorporated into everyday life.
Dr Duck-chul Lee, who led the study, said: “Lifting any weight that increases resistance on your muscles is the key. My muscle doesn't know the difference if I'm digging in the yard, carrying heavy shopping bags or lifting a dumbbell.”
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