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Is Lifting Weights Good for Cardiovascular Health?

The basics about fat loss

Exercising more and eating healthy will make you lose visible weight in the form of fat. There's another type of fat that won't affect your physical appearance, BUT it's actually much more important. The type we're talking about: fat around the heart.

Fat around the heart

Fat around the heart is associated with failing heart function and with heart disease. A new study published in "JAMA Cardiology" found that strength training is one of the best ways to get rid of that excess and invisible fat. The researchers found that a workout regimen combining strength training and resistance training are the most beneficial for your heart.

Because of its direct contact with the heart and shared blood supply, certain fatty tissue is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. There is also fat around the heart that does not have direct contact, but experts believe it also affects heart function in a negative way.

A study to give you more insight

The researchers conducted their study using 50 people with excess abdominal fat. They divided them into three groups: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) three times a week, strength and resistance training three times a week, and no training. They had to maintain this for 12 weeks.

In the group that did weight training, fat around the heart decreased the most. Although this seems to offer hope for preventing heart failure, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions. What is interesting is that the different types of exercises had different effects while the people involved in this study did not change anything about their diet. From this 12 week study we can therefore conclude that for cardiovascular health weight training (strength & resistance) has the most positive outcome.


One possible explanation could be that resistance training stimulates the muscles around the heart and thus increases metabolism, increasing calorie burn, which provides fat loss.

This does not mean you should take other types of workouts in disregard. The researchers assure endurance training can and possibly will also have a positive effect on fat around the heart. The overall message is that people need to be motivated to exercise at all, and thus preventive heart failure. Doing something is far better than doing nothing, so do what you like to do!

(The moral of this article is that endurance training isn't the only workout type that ensures you a good cardiovascular health, as weight lifting show to put in better results for fat loss around the heart, this doesn't refer endurance or stamina directly.)

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