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Resistance Exercise for Less Than One Hour Weekly May Slash Cardiovascular Risk

People usually associate aerobic exercise with heart health, but a recent study suggests that lifting weights may be just as beneficial. A recent study suggests that performing resistance exercise for less than an hour per week may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by as much as 70%.


Participants in the study included more than 13,000 people who took part in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. In that study, researchers were examining three things: cardiovascular events including heart attack and stroke that did not result in death, all cardiovascular events resulting in death and any type of death.


During a mean follow-up of 5.4 and 10.5 years, 205 total cardiovascular events (morbidity and mortality combined) and 276 all-cause deaths occurred.  Compared with no resistance exercise, weekly resistance exercise frequencies of one, two, three times or total amount of one to 59 minutes were associated with an approximately 40-70% decreased risk of a cardiovascular event. The results held independently of aerobic exercise.


The researchers did not note any additional benefits of resistance exercise for more than hour per week.


Researchers from East China Normal University conducted the study. It was published on October 29, 2018, in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.


Resistance exercise is any exercise that causes muscles to contract when met with external resistance. Popular examples include weightlifting and body-weight exercises. Resistance exercise helps improve muscle strength and tone, which protects joints from injury, helps with weight management and increased fat to muscle ratio and may help reduce cognitive decline.

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