When people think of weightlifting, they don’t necessarily associate it with much more than strength and stability, but a recent study by Iowa State University has suggested that lifting weights can do more than just build strength, with it also reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack by 40-70%.
This huge benefit may make you think that it takes a lot of work to reap the benefits, but up to just one hour of weightlifting a week allows participants to take full advantage of these benefits.
Duck-Chul Lee, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Iowa State University has said that; “People may think that they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of benchpresses that take 5 minutes could be effective…” This is massively positive for the general public and those who want to reduce the risk of heart problems, as one thing that pushes people away from keeping fit is the perception that fitness requires a huge commitment to get results.
The findings of the study also showed positive signs for those who are less mobile than others, as it showed that the benefits of weightlifting are independent of cardiovascular exercise, which means that people can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease without having to go running or commit to cardio.
Throughout the study, Lee and his team looked at nearly 13,000 participants to allow them to gather a reliable enough sample size. They analysed three health factors to get an idea of how weightlifting and cardio had an effect on each, which then allowed them to narrow down their research into three of the most common type of “cardiovascular event”.
They looked into cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke that did not result in death, all cardiovascular events including death and any type of death. What the researchers found was surprising, as weightlifting proved to seriously reduce the risk of each type of event.
On top of the serious benefits that weightlifting can have when reducing the risk of heart problems, it was also found that resistance training had the potential to reduce the risk of both Diabetes and High Cholesterol. Just one hour of resistance exercise a week showed to lower participants’ risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 29%. With metabolic syndrome increasing the risk of heart disease, Diabetes and stroke, this is massively positive for those who are qualified to train Obese and Diabetic clients.
These findings are interesting for professionals in the fitness industry as well as medical professionals, as the majority of Personal Trainers and Gym Instructors would focus mainly on cardiovascular exercise with clients who have heart conditions, whereas now there is a clear direction for them to take their training.
Overall, the research that has been put in has been highly beneficial to medical and fitness professionals, as it gives them a clear direction to work towards. With more health experts calling for more GPs to refer exercise to their patients instead of prescriptions, this is hugely promising, as it gives GPs and Personal Trainers an area of fitness that they can work together on to help clients in need to get results.