Resistance Training and Cardiovascular Health

Happy New Year! All of us here at Elevation Physiotherapy hope you had a wonderful holiday season. As you set goals for 2024, we hope keeping active will be a priority.

Since 2007, there has been accumulating scientific evidence that suggests that resistance training (weight training) is a safe and effective approach for improving cardiovascular health for people with and without cardiovascular disease.

The great news is that in December 2023, there has been an update in the American Heart Association scientific statement. Here are their 3 key points:

  • Resistance training (RT) provides significant health benefits related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. It improves blood pressure, glycemia, lipid profiles, and body composition, particularly benefiting older adults and those with elevated cardiometabolic risk.
  • RT has positive effects on non-traditional CVD risk factors, such as cardiorespiratory fitness, endothelial function, and psychological well-being.
  • Combining RT with aerobic training may offer more benefit in reducing certain CVD risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia, compared to resistance training or aerobic training alone.

If you do not feel comfortable attending a gym, then consider creating a home gym. A quick scan of Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji tells me that many people who bought home gyms during the pandemic are now selling exercise equipment. If you have never done resistance training before, do consider seeing us for advice. Physiotherapists treat injuries and so we are experts at knowing what to avoid when starting a new exercise and how to perform exercises correctly. If you have specific race, exercise or travel goals, a personalized program tailored to your needs and weaknesses is essential.

Your exercises do not have to be complicated but it does need to be practical and accessible. Otherwise, you already know what becomes of typical “New Year’s Resolutions.” A program that is progressive, individualized and fun will help with exercise consistency. And consistency is key. We do not eat healthy foods only for a short period of time. And so, why shouldn’t exercise be a consistent part of your healthy lifestyle?

Let’s make 2024 a pivotal year for your health! Whether you like to walk, run, cycle or swim, be sure to add strength training as well!

Reference: Paluch et al. Resistance Exercise Training in Individuals With and Without Cardiovascular Disease: 2023 update: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association; Circulation: 7 Dec 2023.

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