Strength training is often associated with building muscle, but its benefits extend beyond just physical appearance. In fact, strength training has been shown to have a significant impact on cardiovascular health. Research indicates that strength training can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, reduce abdominal fat, and improve the functioning of the circulatory system. Strength training should be considered an important component of a comprehensive cardiovascular health plan.
Researchers found that muscular strength, as measured by the number of push-ups an individual could perform, was more closely associated with future cardiovascular risk than cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by a treadmill stress test. The study followed over 1,000 firefighters over a 10-year period and found that those who could perform more than 40 push-ups had a 96% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who could perform less than 10 push-ups. These findings suggest that strength training may be an even more reliable predictor of cardiovascular risk than traditional measures of fitness.
IMPROVES THE MYOKINE RESPONSE
When considering the mechanisms through which strength training improves cardiovascular health, the effectiveness of this form of exercise becomes clear. One important benefit of strength training is that it increases muscle mass and strength, which improves the myokine response. Myokines are proteins produced by muscle cells that have a variety of beneficial effects on the body, including reducing inflammation and improving glucose uptake. By increasing muscle mass and strength, strength training can improve the body’s ability to produce and respond to these important proteins.
REDUCES ABDOMINAL FAT
Strength training has also been shown to reduce abdominal fat, both visceral and subcutaneous, which decreases inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, so any intervention that reduces inflammation is likely to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. By reducing abdominal fat, strength training can help to lower inflammation and improve overall cardiovascular health.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Another benefit of strength training is that it can lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and many medications used to treat high blood pressure have significant side effects. Strength training offers a natural, drug-free way to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
RAISES GOOD CHOLESTEROL
Strength training has also been shown to raise good cholesterol and lower harmful cholesterol. Good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), helps to remove harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. By increasing good cholesterol and reducing harmful cholesterol, strength training can improve cardiovascular health.
REDUCES TRYGLYCERIDES IN THE BLOOD
Finally, strength training has been shown to reduce triglycerides in the blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can lead to a hardening of the arteries or a thickening of the artery walls. By reducing triglycerides, strength training can help to prevent the development of these dangerous conditions.
All in all, the benefits of strength training are a great reason to get serious about your cardiovascular health. Schedule your free strength training session with one of our X-Force Body experts today!
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