A new health study claims lifting weights for less than an hour each week decreases a person’s stroke and heart attack risk by 40 to 70 percent.
The study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University examined the link between resistance exercise and cardiovascular disease in around 13,000 participants with an average age of 47 years. The participants received at least two clinical examinations between 1987 and 2006.
The research team assessed the participants’ level of resistance exercise using self-reported questionnaires. They investigated the possible association between weight training exercise and three health outcomes- cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke that did not result in death, all cardiovascular events including death, and death from all causes.
It was found that weight training reduced the risk for all three across the board. Performing weight training exercises for more than hour yield no additional results. The research found the benefits of strength training are independent of walking, running and any other form of aerobic activity.
“People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than 5 minutes could be effective,” study co-author DC Lee said in a statement. “Lifting any weight that increases resistance on your muscles is the key. My muscle doesn’t know the difference if I’m digging in the yard, carrying heavy shopping bags or lifting a dumbbell.”
Lee added that the study results are encouraging, but, the big question remains is if people will make weightlifting a part of their lifestyle, reported Daily Mail.
The study has been published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Notably, using the same data, the research team also looked at the relationship between resistance exercise and diabetes as well as hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol. It was found resistance exercise lowered the risk for both. Performing resistance exercise for an hour weekly was associated with a 29 percent lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The risk of hypercholesterolemia was 32 percent lower.