Why Weight Lifting Is Good for Heart Health
Here’s how pumping a little iron can help strengthen your heart.
So, you want to be healthy and strong but might not want to spend all your time at the gym doing cardio. If you’re not interested in running long distances or swimming laps in the pool, weight lifting may be the perfect option for you. It’s been proven that proper use of weight training equipment such as dumbbells and barbells can help you strengthen your heart.
Here are several heart health benefits that come from lifting weights:
Having good circulation is important for good health—when your circulation is working well, your body receives the oxygen and nutrients it needs.
You can plan your workouts with the goal of improving your circulation, whether it’s targeting your upper or lower body.
Using resistance machines is an effective way to target specific areas of the body. For example, you can improve circulation in your lower body by using the leg press machine. Work on the circulation in your back by doing lat pulldowns and seated rows. Committing to regular weight resistance training doesn’t just improve circulation, it also helps your body stay strong.
Related: Why I Love Strength Training
Reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke
One of the biggest benefits of weight lifting is lowering the probability of life-altering heart attacks and strokes. A recent study shared by journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that weight training may reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. If you regularly lift weights, you reap these benefits—even if you aren't regularly participating in aerobic exercise such as hiking or running.
Because strength training increases lean muscle mass, it gives your cardiovascular system places to send the blood being pumped. This results in less pressure on your arteries, which helps reduce the chances of heart-related problems. With consistent strength training, you’re likely to stay heart healthy for years to come.
Related: Debunking Five Heart Health Myths
Improves quality of sleep
As you improve your cardiovascular system with weight lifting, you will also experience better sleep. Weight lifting studies show that sleep can be improved with regular strength workouts. When your quality of sleep improves, your overall quality of life improves because you’re well rested and better equipped to take on day-to-day activities. With better sleep, you’ll lower your chances of illness, reduce stress, and perform better at work and school.
Fights belly fat
Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is found around your internal organs such as the heart. With consistent weight lifting, you’ll have less belly fat and more lean muscle mass. Reducing belly fat will help you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
So, don’t be afraid to add weight lifting to your routine. Start small and you’ll soon see the heart-healthy benefits from adding strength training to your exercise regimen.
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