Lift weights for a healthier heart

Klantverhaal Michiel van Haastert

LIFTING weights is healthier for the heart than going for a run or a walk, new research has found.

Scientists looking at the records of more than 4,000 people have concluded that, while both forms of exercise reduce the risk of heart disease, static activities such as weightlifting or press-ups have a greater effect than an equal amount of dynamic exercise such as running, walking or cycling.

The research challenges the commonly held assumption that so-called cardiovascular pursuits, like running, are of greatest benefit to the heart. It reinforces studies that suggest heavy, static exercise gives the circulatory system a better workout because the oxygen expenditure is more intense.

The Chief Medical Officer in England recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, comprising of both dynamic and static activity.

Dr Maia Smith, a professor who led the research at St George’s University, Grenada, said: “Both strength training and aerobic activity appeared to be heart-healthy, even in small amounts.

“Clinicians should counsel patients to exercise regardless – both activity types were beneficial. However, static activity appeared more beneficial than dynamic, and patients who did both types of physical activity fared better than patients who simply increased the level of one type of activity.”

Researchers analysed cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, as a function of self-reported static and/or dynamic activity in 4,086 American adults.

The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference 2018 in Peru.