|Strength training - great for the heart and weight loss.|
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Cardio or Weights? What's Best?
Okay, you already know exercise is good for you. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, improves your endurance; strength training makes you stronger. But, what type of exercise is best for heart health? Many would think the answer to this question is a no-brainer: cardiovascular training is the way to go. However, a new study indicates that a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise is best for your heart.
Researchers looked at three groups: one group did strength training only; one group did aerobic exercise only; and one group did a combination of both. Although the aerobic exercise group lost weight and trimmed their waistline, the combination group was the winner. Participants who did both aerobic activity and strength training lost about four pounds, dropped one inch from their waistline, and saw a decrease in several risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, including a decrease in blood pressure.
Another study found that twice-weekly strength training was an effective way to prevent the age-related increases in abdominal fat in women. Preventing or decreasing the amount of abdominal fat is important for heart health. The accumulation of abdominal fat is associated with increased blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease, and insulin resistance.
While aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular endurance and makes your heart and lungs function more efficiently, there is something special that happens when you add weight training to the mix. Try to include strength training in your routine two days each week, doing one exercise for each major muscle group. It will only take about 15 minutes and your heart will thank you.