Do you want to have a toned physique and improve your cardiovascular system at the same time? Then “pumping iron”, even just once a week, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 40 to 70%.
Researchers analyzed medical data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), almost 12.500 people with an average age of 47 years, going back as far as 1987. Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, their study found that one session of lifting weights (≤1 hour) can have significant health benefits. This was true even for cases where the recommended aerobic exercise quota was not met.
Strength training was also associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), another indicator of heart health. This is a simple measurement that divides body mass by the square of body height (kg/m2). Normal ranges are between 18.5 and 25, and people over these limits being classified as overweight.
Interestingly enough, resistance exercises more than four times a week or ≥60 minutes showed no significant risk reduction.
While this type of systematic review should not be taken as concrete evidence, it is still a clear barometer of how important physical activity can be towards living a healthy life. Regardless of your motives (wanting to look better or improve health condition) exercise is a great way of building bone, improving body composition, managing blood sugar, increasing strength and stamina. Working out also promotes mental health and wellbeing by reducing anxiety and depression.
It can be hard to find the time, between work, family and having a social life, but take this as a reminder that an active lifestyle leads to a long and happy life.