How Lifting Weights Can Improve Your Heart Health

Man lifting barbell


Not yet well known is the positive effect that strength training has on the health of people with cardiovascular diseases. Also rather unknown is the preventive effect of strength training concerning these diseases. This favors people training and taking supplements bought from online steroids Canada to build muscles and improve their overall strength.

In July 2007, the journal Circulation published a scientific recommendation from the American Heart Association on strength training for people with and without cardiovascular disease. The authors of the recommendation believe that many doctors are still unaware of the importance of strength training as part of a fitness program and how positively it affects the heart.

Physical activity and sports are an important part of non-drug therapy for most diseases. The effect of exercise and physical activity is scientifically proven. In addition, physical training serves to prevent cardiovascular diseases in particular.

Train stamina and strength

Both strength training and conditioning training have an extremely positive effect on the heart and vessels:

  • Conditioning training has a medium and strength training has a small effect on the body fat percentage.
  • Strength training, on the other hand, has a medium effect on muscle mass and strength, and greater muscle mass ensures increased energy consumption at rest.
  • Even without an increase in muscle mass, muscle mass can be maintained in old age with the help of strength training and age-related weight gain can be prevented, as energy consumption does not decrease at rest.
  • Conditioning training has no effect on muscle mass and a small effect on strength.
  • Both types of exercise result in small but positive effects on cholesterol levels (both good HDL cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol).
  • Conditioning training lowers the proportion of triglycerides (fatty acids) in the blood more than strength training.
  • Perhaps an even more important factor is the reduction of belly fat, to which strength training also contributes. Abdominal fat (abdominal obesity) is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Both conditioning and strength training increase the insulin sensitivity of muscle cells and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Both types of training have an equally positive effect on the quality of life.
  • Conditioning training improves heart activity and can lower blood pressure.
  • Extensive research proves the – well-known – positive effect that fitness training reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. So you should not replace conditioning training with strength training, but supplement one with the other.

Great effect on rather untrained people

The authors of the American Heart Association’s recommendation also emphasize the great impact that strength training can have on those groups that do it the least: frail and elderly, and those with heart disease.

Effects that have been shown in elderly and frail people include increased stamina when walking, higher walking speed and balance, and fewer falls.

According to studies, integrating strength training into a rehabilitation program for cardiovascular patients leads to improved muscle strength and endurance in patients. The increase in strength occurs regardless of whether you train with high or medium intensity.

According to studies, strength improves by 24–90% in patients with cardiovascular disease and endurance when walking by 15%. Strength training is especially beneficial for people with physical disabilities. Women and men with cardiovascular disease but without ailments such as angina or heart failure can do strength training if they participate in a supervised rehab program.


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The right technology is crucial

Precise instructions and the right lifting technique are of utmost importance for all strength training beginners, but they are especially important for people with heart disease. Participants in rehabilitation programs offered by hospitals and similar facilities often receive this briefing. People who do not participate in such programs should be taught the correct execution of training by physiotherapists or fitness trainers. Therapists and trainers must be informed about your heart disease so that they can tailor the training to it and guide you accordingly.

According to the recommendation of the American Heart Association, strength training has hardly any negative effects. Should problems occur, they are usually because the exercises are not carried out properly or that the trainees did not receive or had not asked for them.

For each patient, an individual training program should be established with endurance training, strength training, as well as coordination and flexibility training.

Better heart health, weight control, and quality of life

In both healthy people and heart patients, strength training not only improves muscle strength and endurance, performance, independence, and quality of life but also reduces functional limitations. Other potential benefits of strength training include better heart health, weight control, and fall prevention.

If there is only a small risk of heart problems, a comprehensive heart examination is not required before starting an exercise program; however, a slow start to training is recommended. With proper preparation, guidance, and training under the supervision of a trainer or physical therapist, even individuals at moderate to high risk of cardiovascular disease can safely complete strength training.

Strength training must not be carried out under any circumstances if there is unstable angina, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, defective heart valve, acute inflammation of the heart muscle, endocarditis or pericarditis, or insufficiently controlled high blood pressure. High-intensity strength training should not be performed by people with certain eye diseases (retinopathy and diabetic retinopathy).

Practical training tips

The American Heart Association recommends a slow start to strength training. You should do the following:

  • When strength training, pay attention to calm, controlled movements and use the entire trajectory. Do not forget to breathe during the exercise!
  • Exercise alternately upper and lower body so that you can recover well between the training sections.
  • If you are healthy, you should use weights so heavy that you can handle a maximum of 8 to 12 repetitions. Elderly or sick people, as well as heart patients, should train with lighter weights so that 10 to 15 repetitions are possible.
  • First of all, you should not exercise more than one set per muscle group and not more often than twice a week.
  • When training, make sure that all major muscle groups are involved. Suitable exercises are chest presses (device), neck presses (with neck pressing you usually start on a device, if available) biceps curls, triceps presses with the rod, road pulls (upper back), back stretches, abdominal muscle exercises on the device or situps, leg stretches, back of the thighs, leg lifts. Heart patients, as well as elderly, frail, and untrained people, are recommended to use exercise equipment instead of weights.
  • Take sufficient breaks during training!

How do the intensity levels differ?

If you can handle a maximum of six repetitions during strength training, you will train with high intensity. In this way, strength and strength are increased better than in low-intensity training. Moderate intensity can be achieved with 8 to 15 repetitions. This will improve both muscle strength and muscle endurance. In strength training with over 15 repetitions, the intensity is low. Although they improve muscle endurance, they do not achieve the same increase in muscle strength.