For many years, the conventional wisdom has been that the best exercise
for better heart health and a healthy cardiovascular sytem, thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack were aerobic (with oxygen),
also called cardio, workouts.
On the other hand, conventional weightlifting training
has traditionally been considered an anaerobic (without oxygen)
exercise. As such, it was not thought to be the best choice
for heart health and overall fitness.
However, that is no longer always the opinion of those in the know.
Today, many medical professionals and personal trainers recognize the potential benefits weightlifting can have for heart and lungs, especially when used in combination with more traditional cardio workouts.
In fact, until recently, cardiologists actually
discouraged their patients from weight training and weightlifting, but
view is rapidly changing.
Heart Association has published evidence that accents the
benefits to the heart of working out with weights in a proper manner.
This reversal ofopinion is not only because physiologists now recognize that there can
indeed be an aerobic component to weightlifting exercises, but because
ofthe overall improvement in condition and body changes created by
For example, it has been found that increasing muscle mass and strength actually lowers resting metabolic rate, and resting
The benefits from building the muscular strength of
the body's most important muscle - the heart - are becoming readily
apparent for any healthy person. For the heart patient, weightlifting
and resistance training can be very important to preventing future
heart attacks or other cardiac episodes. It is all about being in
better condition and being stronger.
It's not brain surgery, but it is basic heart science.
If you have a weak heart, even simple tasks like
walking up stairs, lifting groceries, or even walking can put a strain
it. If you become stronger from building lean muscle mass, these tasks
become that much simpler, your heart doesn't have to work so
Studies have also shown that when people who trained by
lifting weights were monitored
for cardiac output the heart pumped stronger and faster. Like any
muscle this builds stronger walls in the ventricle, the pumping part of
the heart. Strong ventricles mean the heart can pump more efficiently,
and effectively lowers resting heart rate, which can lower blood
pressure, one of the main contributing factors to heart attack and
By the way, you can get even more heart health benefit from training
with weights if you try using lower weights, increasing repetitions,
and taking shorter rests between sets.
Of course, gaining a healthy heart is not the only
benefit of weightlifting.
It is a fact, that most people who have heart problems
are also overweight
or struggling with some of the other problems related to obesity such
Weightlifting is a great way to lose weight and keep it
off by raising your metabolism and making your body
burn calories more
Now, minute for minute, anaerobic exercises such as
will not burn as much as an aerobic exercise like biking or jogging. In
other words, 15 minutes on a stationary bike will initially burn far
calories then 15 minutes of weightlifting.
However it has been found
that up to two hours after a 15 minute weightlifting workout, the body
continues to burn calories as the muscles remain in an agitated state.
For these, and other reasons, American Heart Association now recommends
a 30 minute aerobic
workout 6 times a week, and adding a weightlifting session of at least
15 minutes 3 times a week.
While a good exercise program for heart health should
include different exercises, and different types of exercises, weight
lifting really needs to be in there somewhere.