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:

“In selected patients, low-to-moderate intensity strength training performed early after infarction is effective and may have lower rates of cardiovascular problems than aerobic exercise.”

For recovering patients resistance exercises need not be very demanding to be productive. At New Orleans Personal Trainers at Austin Fitness Trainers we follow a simple rule: Perform a little more exercise than you are used to handling and then rest and recover adequately. This applies to advanced athletes and recovering patients. For the recovering patients it will not involve much to take them to a point of exercising beyond what they are used to handling. For the advanced trainees doing a little more than they did last time will be difficult but doable. Both groups will improve but the recovering patients often show the most profound improvement, as they start at a much lower base line.

Our workout program involves circuit resistance training. There is no resting between exercises, so there is a cardiovascular component. Each week recovering patients come in a little stronger and each week we increase the weights lifted by small increments. After a few months the recovering patients are dramatically stronger.

Aerobic activity has been stressed as necessary for cardiovascular health. This cannot occur if the muscles are too weak to allow adequate aerobic activity. The muscles drive the heart not the other way around. Also strength training has been shown to lower blood pressure. In the end we will not be put in a nursing home for being out of breath; it is because we are too weak to carry out daily activities. Remaining strong is good for the heart.