Weight training tied to ‘substantial heart benefits’ in long-term study

A little weight lifting can have a big impact on heart health, even in the absence of aerobic endurance training, according to recent research in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The study included more than 12,500 participants who made at least two visits to the Cooper Clinic in Dallas between 1987 and 2006. Over an average follow-up of 10.5 years, participants who reported doing any resistance exercise/weight training demonstrated a 40 percent to 70 percent decreased risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke and all-cause mortality. This association remained present even in participants who didn’t meet the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week for aerobic exercise.

“The good news is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise,” Duck-chul Lee, a study coauthor and associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, told The New York Times.

Lee et al. found lifting twice per week, for about an hour total, was associated with the greatest declines in CVD risk. They acknowledged their study couldn’t prove causation, but the additional link between weight training and a lower body mass index also could be beneficial for heart health.

Read the full story from The Times below: