By Ryan Lawson, Exercise Specialist
When we think of heart health, often times we picture eating better and including regular cardiovascular exercise into our daily routine. Did you know research has shown that, when appropriately prescribed and supervised, resistance training has positive effects on your muscles, as well as cardiovascular function, metabolism, coronary risk factors and psychological well-being?
Likewise, studies have shown that, in addition to strengthening the heart, regular resistance training with weights benefits people with heart disease by developing strength, improving endurance and increasing independence, which results in a better quality of life. Resistance training doesn’t benefit only heart disease. It’s also beneficial in the management of other chronic conditions, such as low back pain, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes.
Weight training also increases your:
- Bone density
- Endurance (although not as much as aerobic exercise)
- Insulin sensitivity
- Lean muscle mass
- Muscle strength
When starting a resistance-training program, there are several guidelines you should follow for a safe, effective program. If you’re just starting or haven’t worked out in a while, always meet with a trained professional first so they can show you the basics and proper form.
To improve your heart health, find eight to 10 different exercises that target each muscle in your body. You should aim to do eight to 15 reps of these exercises twice a week on non-consecutive days. Challenge yourself by choosing a weight that fatigues the targeted muscle by the end of each set of reps. If you follow these guidelines, it shouldn’t take more than 20 to 30 minutes per session.
For more information, please consult an exercise specialist at Riverview Health Rehab & Fitness.