Could weight training be better for heart health than running?
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Could weight training be better for heart health than running?

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A study has suggested that lifting weights could be healthier for the heart than going for a run or a walk.

Research at St. George's University in Grenada analysed cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, and compared them to the exercise habits of 4,086 American adults – using data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study looked at the relationship of not just exercise in general, but two distinct strands – static (strength training) and/or dynamic activities (such as running).

Researchers found that engaging in either type of activity was associated with 30 to 70 per cent lower rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors – but that associations were strongest for static activity.

"Both strength training and aerobic activity appeared to be heart healthy, even in small amounts, at the population level," said Maia P. Smith, statistical epidemiologist and assistant professor at St. George's University.

"However, static activity appeared more beneficial than dynamic, and patients who did both types of physical activity fared better than patients who simply increased the level of one type of activity."

Another finding was that, in total, 36 per cent of younger and 25 per cent of older adults engaged in static activity, and 28 per cent of younger and 21 per cent of older adults engaged in dynamic activity.

"One interesting takeaway was that both static and dynamic activity were almost as popular in older people as younger," Smith said.

"I believe this gives clinicians the opportunity to counsel their older patients that they will fit into the gym or the road race just fine. The important thing is to make sure they are engaging in physical activity.

"Clinicians should counsel patients to exercise regardless – both activity types were beneficial."

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A study has suggested that lifting weights could be healthier for the heart than going for a run or a walk.
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