Heart healthy

To significantly lower your risk of death from heart disease start lifting weights

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A meta-study of 338,254 participants concluded strength training once or twice a week can lower your risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 28%.  Further they found that if you add aerobic activities to that regime you can lower your risk by 48%.  

Interestingly, strength training more than five times per week was not associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The goal should not be to find how much strength training you can tolerate, but to find the amount that produces optimal results.  Lifting just enough, eating well, and going for a daily walk is a doable prescription for good cardiovascular health and a longer lifespan.

It is important to note that muscles stimulate the cardiovascular system to make positive changes, not the other way around. When the muscles are too weak to push the cardiovascular system, cardio-respiratory fitness declines. High intensity training (HIT) for strength done properly can produce a very significant cardiovascular stimulus, and positively affect cardiovascular wellness.

The cardiovascular benefits of HIT:

§  Increased nitric oxide availability, your body’s naturally produced vasodilator

§  Added muscle, the engine for cardiovascular health

§  Increased capillarization

§  Increased protection of the joints for doing other cardio-activities like running

§  Increased forced expiratory volume

§  Better results for coronary artery disease patients

§  Lower rates of cardiovascular complications compared to aerobic exercise for those with heart conditions

§  Lower blood pressure

As a result of doing HIT your aches and pains will subside, and you will be able to do those aerobic activities you enjoy longer – walk, run, swim, ride your bike. At Austin Personal Training we offer a 30 minute full-body strength training workout that is done once or twice a week. This is a workout that you slowly build up to; anybody can do it. You’ll enhance your cardio-respiratory fitness and quality of life for decades to come.

Study shows that lifting weights is good for your heart

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In a study researchers use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the structural and functional cardiac adaptions resulting from 22 weeks of high intensity resistance training (HIRT). The study consisted of two groups of middle-age men.  The experimental group did a HIRT workout two to three times a week.  The workouts were full body workouts, one set for each of the major muscle groups. The control group did nothing.  

The researchers found that heart stroke volume increased with HIRT, while myocardial strain did not.  They concluded: “This longitudinal cardiovascular MRI study suggests that a relatively short period of HIRT in previously untrained men is associated with physiological, significant changes in cardiac atrial and ventricular morphologic characteristics and function.”

In other words, your heart becomes stronger and better able to handle the increased demands without strain. Demanding work does more than increase one’s heart rate. Pump volume and venous return increase as the body adjusts to handle the increased demands.      

There is a long list of cardio-respiratory fitness benefits from high intensity training. One benefit in isolation might not have large impact, but the accumulation of all these benefits will have a direct impact on your quality of life and quite possibly the length of your life. 

At our Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Training locations our trainers take special care to monitor and accurately measure clients' progress to insure that clients gradually build up to a high intensity resistance training workout or an aerobic high intensity training workout that is safe, effective, and efficient for one's age and condition.