Cardiovascular or resistance exercise: What’s the best combination for your heart?

FRIDAY, Jan. 18, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Tired of the treadmill or exercise bike?

Picking up a pair of dumbbells every now and then instead of putting on your running shoes won’t do any harm to your heart, a new study reports.

Researchers found that dividing the recommended amount of physical activity between aerobic and resistance exercise reduced the risk of heart disease as well as an aerobic-only training regimen.

“If you’re bored with aerobic exercise and want variety, or have joint pain that makes running long distances difficult, our study shows you could cut half your aerobic training to get the same cardiovascular benefits.” can be replaced with strength training,” he said. Said. Lead researcher Duck-Chul Lee, professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.

“Cross-training also offers other unique health benefits, such as improved muscle mass,” Lee said in a university news release.

The researchers noted in background notes that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in three deaths.

Several studies have shown that aerobic exercise benefits the heart, especially in people who are overweight, but few have compared those results with resistance exercise, the researchers said.

In the study, the team followed more than 400 people aged 35 to 70 for a year. All were overweight or obese and all had high blood pressure.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: resistance exercise only, aerobic exercise only, combined aerobic and resistance, or no exercise.

Resistance exercises can include weight machines, free weights, resistance bands or even your own body weight, the researchers note in supporting notes.

Each participant in the exercise groups received an individualized exercise routine based on their individual fitness level and health concerns. He trained under supervision for an hour three times a week for a year.

At the end of the year-long trial, all exercise groups had lost a significant percentage of body fat compared to the non-exercise group.

The researchers reported that each 1 percent reduction in body fat was associated with a 3 percent lower risk of high blood pressure, a 4 percent lower risk of high cholesterol and an 8 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

They also measured four risk factors for heart disease at the beginning, middle and end of the clinical trial: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body fat.

The results showed that the aerobic and combined training groups scored lower on heart disease risk factors than the non-exercise group.

The researchers said resistance exercise alone does not provide the same benefits for heart health.

The study also showed a clear benefit of combining aerobic and strength training: The combination group improved both aerobic fitness and muscle strength, while the aerobics-only and resistance-only groups only improved their focus area.

The new study is published in the January 17 issue of the European Heart Journal.

Lee said people can combine aerobic and resistance exercise without taking up much time in their day.

“The most common reason people don’t exercise is that they have limited time,” Lee said. “The exercises we’re suggesting with cardio and strength training don’t require a lot of time.”

Next, Lee plans to conduct another clinical trial focusing on the “right dose” of resistance exercise for people who are overweight or obese.

Physical activity guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and two sessions of resistance training each week.

“But these guidelines do not specify how long those strength training sessions should last to achieve health benefits,” Lee said.

more information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information about physical activity.

Source: Iowa State University, news release, January 17, 2024

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