Strength Training or Cardio for Heart Health?
Properly applied, strength training improves cardiovascular health while simultaneously building lean muscle mass
Aerobic activities that increase heart rate and make us breathe harder such as walking, biking, and jogging are traditionally recommended for heart health, while strength training is suggested for muscle gain. We are now learning that maximum increase in cardiovascular fitness can be obtained fr
om certain strength training regimens, without any additional endurance exercise, and can in fact replicate most of the health benefits generally associated with aerobic activities.
Studies show that strength training doesn’t just build strong muscles and bones, but also offers great benefits for cardiovascular health as well. That’s why the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends strength training not only for muscle strength and endurance, but also for heart and lung functio
n, reducing coronary disease risk factors, enhancing glucose metabolism, and as a tool in maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing or recovering from heart disease.
Strength training is beneficial for everyone, from children to the elderly, but since we naturally lose muscle tissue as we grow older, (the aging process begins as of age 30), it is important to specifically incorporate resistance training into your exercise regimen 2 or 3 times a week.
Strength training provides numerous other health benefits such as fighting against osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis and obesity. It releases stress, depression, improves endurance, flexibility, stamina, balance and coordination. It can prevent and rehabilitate injuries.
It is simple: Strength is good because when you are stronger, performing daily tasks becomes easier, everything becomes easier and your heart will be happy as you won’t put such strain on it daily.
Take-away: Favor your strength training routines above spending countless hours on the treadmill, specially if you are short on time, not only will you take care of your heart’s needs, but as an added benefit, you will simultaneously sculpt and tone your body as well.
Written by Batista Gremaud for