Strong Body. Strong Heart. Training Tips for Heart Health
Research shows that strength training, in combination with aerobic exercise, can have significant benefits for heart health. And you don't need to use barbells or hand weights to get a great strength workout.
Lifting weights does more than build strong bones and help you look buff at the beach. Research shows that strength training, in combination with aerobic exercise, can have significant benefits for heart health, according to the American Heart Association.
If you don't have weights at home, or you can't get to a gym, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests trying some of the following activities for strength training.
- Working with resistance bands
- Doing push-ups, sit-ups and other exercises
- Digging, shoveling and heavy gardening
Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which helps to burn extra calories, keep blood sugar in check and improve blood cholesterol levels—all great changes for the heart.
Building strength, especially for older adults, can make it easier to perform everyday activities, such as lifting a bag of groceries. Resistance (or weight) exercises are also important for bone health and can help to prevent osteoporosis.
Just 2 Days a Week
The American Heart Association recommends performing 8 to 10 resistance exercises, two days a week. The exercises should use all the major muscle groups—legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms.
Each exercise should be done to the point of muscle fatigue, usually about 8 to 12 repetitions. However, avoid overstraining and stop if you feel any pain.
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