The Value of Weight Lifting and Cardiac Health
By: Michael J. Perrotti, PhD
Clinical and Forensic Neuropsychology; Sports Performance Enhancement
Mind-body dualism (mind and body interconnection) is our DNA. The gym is excellent as a stress management coping tool, a welcome time out from our busy schedules and a needed focus on self-care. Many gym goers focus on aerobics – bicycle, elliptical trainers, treadmill.
Recent research from the American Heart Association concludes that for healthy adults, a regular program of weight training not only increases muscle strength and endurance. It also improves heart and lung function, enhances glucose metabolism, reduces coronary disease risk factors, and enhances well-being.
A recent study followed 13,000 subjects who exercised on treadmills. Blood tests and follow up outcome measures were used. Of significance was that subjects who did weight training twice per week have been evidenced to have less cardiac events and lower risk factors for cardiac disease over time.
One can also obtain both cardio and cardiovascular fitness by elevating heart rate with regular cycle exercise, eg, circuit training. Several research studies have been conducted on the effect of high intensity, short rest weight training and its effects on cardiovascular health and fitness. Their findings are remarkable as strength training has not currently been thought to improve cardiovascular fitness. Aerobic activities that increase heart rate and make one breath harder – walking, biking, jogging – have typically been recommended for cardiovascular fitness. We are now learning that maximum increases in strength and cardiovascular fitness can be obtained from one type of exercise – strength training. Properly applied, strength training simultaneously engages both the muscular system and the cardiovascular system. Recommended intervals are three to five times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at moderate intensity level, or two to three times per week for 15 to 20 minutes at a high intensity level. One should check with their primary care physician prior to engaging in any exercise regimen.
The aforementioned fitness regimens improve the quality of life and are conducive to reducing stress.
Make the resolve to improve your fitness today. Fight on! Stay Strong! Plan for a fit and healthy 2019.