cardio exercise

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High intensity strength training lowers blood pressure

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To lower your blood pressure do high intensity training HIT or start strength training. Better yet, do them both at the same time.

High intensity training HIT consists of a series of short bouts of demanding exercise with rest or active recovery (less demanding exercise) in between each bout of exercise. HIT for strength can be done performing a series of strength training exercise with little rest in between. Evidence from two studies point to the positive effects both HIT and strength training have on lowering blood pressure.

This study, High-intensity interval training and hypertension: maximizing the benefits of exercise? compared continuous moderate-intensity exercise training (CMT) and high-intensity interval training (HIT), to determine which was better for lowering blood pressure.  They presented evidence that:

“HIT for several factors involved in the pathophysiology of hypertension raises the hypothesis that HIT may be more effective for preventing and controlling hypertension”.

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Cardiovascular benefits of strength training

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After a high intensity strength training workout you will be breathing hard.  This video was taken three minutes after a workout, so that I could get some of my wind back and have my pulse come down a bit.  EPOC, Essessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption is high after aerobic exercise, higher still after a strength training workout, and highest after a high intensity strength training workout.  A higher level of EPOC means more calories burned.  With a high intensity strength training workout, besides getting stronger, you will  positively affect your cardiovascular system, lower your sugar, and and burn calories long after the workout is over.

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Increased blood flow and lower BP with strength training

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From this article Weight Training Has Unique Heart Benefits, Study Suggests:

“An acute bout of resistance exercise shows many favorable cardiovascular benefits and should therefore be considered as part of a daily exercise training program".

When compared to aerobic training resistance training resulted in increased blood flow to the limbs and a longer-lasting drop in blood pressure after exercise.

Another quote:

"Resistance exercise may offer greater benefits from the increases in blood flow to active muscles and could be implemented as companion to an aerobic training regimen, according to the new study".

Especially because of its ability to increase blood flow to active muscles, weight training could be a valuable companion to an aerobic training regimen. "This may be of greatest importance to women, as they can derive important weight-bearing benefits of resistance training to help prevent and/or treat osteoporosis,"

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Studys Shows That HIT Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure

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From this study, High-intensity interval training and hypertension: maximizing the benefits of exercise?:

"Several studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (HIT), which consists of several bouts of high-intensity exercise (~85% to 95% of HRMAX and/or VO2MAX lasting 1 to 4 min interspersed with intervals of rest or active recovery, is superior to Continuous moderate-intensity exercise training CMT for improving cardiorespiratory fitness, endothelial function and its markers, insulin sensitivity, markers of sympathetic activity and arterial stiffness in hypertensive and normotensive at high familial risk for hypertension subjects. This compelling evidence suggesting larger beneficial effects of HIT for several factors involved in the pathophysiology of hypertension raises the hypothesis that HIT may be more effective for preventing and controlling hypertension."

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Getting to your target heart rate with resistance training

The client was 58 and very fit. She was wearing a pulse meter on her wrist. Ninety seconds into the workout her pulse was 148 which is approaching her maximum for a person her age.

One method of determining one’s maximum heart rate is to subtract one’s age from 220 bpm. Using this method this client’s maximum heart rate would be 162 bpm.

We began the workout with the leg press using a heavy weight and slow initial movements. The leg press involves large muscle groups and can get one’s heart rate up in short order. The slow starts minimize force associated with injury and allow one to warm up safely with the heavier weights. The warm up is in effect incorporated in to the first set using a challenging weight. After a minute she was breathing hard and I told her to move faster. At this point her muscles were warmed up and appreciably weaker. Warmed-up weaker muscles are unlikely to generate enough force to cause injury as long as good form is maintained. Her attempts to move fast did not amount to much at that point in the set, but it did allow her to keep moving and achieve a deeper fatigue.

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Healthy Hearts and Strength Training

Is strength training safe for cardiovascular health and is it healthy? You might be surprised by the results of one study. From this study, Strength Training Early After Myocardial Infarction, comes this quote:

“For the three treatment groups, 30 of 42 subjects had one or more cardiovascular complication (arrhythmias, angina, ischemia, hypertension, hypotension) during the aerobic exercises as compared to only 1 subject with complications during the resistive exercises.”

 An interesting result that speaks for itself - 30 complications for aerobic rehab versus one for resistance exercise rehab.

Another quote from the study:

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