It is well-known that physical activity is healthy for the heart, and it is usually associated with endurance training known as ”cardio”. An increasing number of the general exercisers now learn the value of strength-training. The positive effects on the heart has established documentation from multiple studies. Strength-training can also reduce the probability for other diseases with a negative effect on the heart like, diabetes.
Strength-training is not a synonym to bodybuilding, and working out shouldn´t be about how you look and appearance. It should be about performing, feeling good and living a healthy lifestyle.
You get great profit from working out with compound exercises, training the large muscles of the body. A minimal amount of equipment is required, and you can do many effective exercises, even without any equipment at all.
Compound exercises are involving two or more joints, and multiple muscles and muscle groups. These exercises are very effective, improving the core stability and large muscles of the body. They are functional in the sense that they improve the movements in sports and everyday life in general.
5 compound exercises we recommend for strength-training:
- The barbell back squat
- Barbell bench press
- Overhead press
- Barbell row
During life we all have an involuntary loss of muscle mass associated with age. It is termed sarcopenia, and actually it not only means that we are loosing muscles, but also its strength and function. After the age of 30, muscle mass decreases 3-8% a year. This has a major impact on our health, and contributes to change of body composition, with more fat. Increasing age is thus an argument to train strength.
Many studies have shown the positive effect of exercise on health. In this post we will briefly mention a few concerning strength-training, but also list a few other consequences on health:
- Increased muscle mass, which increases your basal metabolism and prevents obesity
- Stronger bones and tendons makes you more resilient to injuries.
- Positive effect on stature
- Reduces fat and insulin resistance
A study from 2017 published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, concluded that strength-training, in form of resistance exercise, was associated with lower risk of developing hypercholesterolemia. Increased levels of cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It doesn`t had to be much either, to get this positive effect. An hour a week was enough.
A study from 2019 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, included 13 000 adults with an average age of 47 years, and without any cardiovascular diseases. Those who exercised an hour or more a week with strength-training had a 40 – 70% lower risk of heart attack or stroke. If the minimum of one hour was divided on several workouts during a week, it did not reduce the positive effect.
A study like the above mentioned can only prove an association between training strength and the heart, but later that same year, another interesting study was published in JAMA – Journal of American Medical Association. Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and especially i associated with visceral adipose tissue. A group of researchers studied specific types of fat that surrounds the heart. Epicardial and pericardial adipose tissue, which in excess amount increases risk for cardiovascular diseases. They found over a period of 12 weeks, that both endurance and resistance training reduced epicardial fat, but only resistance training reduced pericardial fat.
Reduction of visceral fat can also be achieved from change in diet. A combination of healthy diet and strenght-training, is a contribution to reduce the risk of heart disease. Even so, we stille recommend to include endurance training as part of your individual workout routine.