Adding strength training to cardio may lower risk of heart disease in Dutch adults
A new study has found that adding strength training to regular cardio exercise could significantly lower the risk of heart disease in Dutch adults. The research, conducted by scientists at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, found that participants who combined strength training with their cardio workouts were less likely to develop heart disease than those who only did cardio.
The study, which was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, looked at the exercise habits and heart health of over 2,000 Dutch adults over the course of five years. The researchers found that those who engaged in both strength training and cardio had a 20% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who only did cardio.
Strength training, also known as resistance training, involves using weights or resistance bands to build and tone muscles. This type of exercise has long been known to have health benefits, such as improving bone density, increasing metabolism, and reducing the risk of injury. However, its specific effects on heart health have been less studied.
The findings of this study suggest that strength training may have unique benefits for the heart. The researchers believe that strength training may help to improve cardiovascular function by increasing muscle mass and strength, which in turn can help to lower the risk of heart disease.
According to the lead researcher, Dr. Esmée Bakker, “Our study highlights the importance of incorporating both strength training and cardio into a regular exercise routine for heart health. While cardio exercise is important for improving cardiovascular fitness, strength training appears to offer additional benefits for reducing the risk of heart disease.”
The study also found that the combination of strength training and cardio was particularly beneficial for older adults. Participants over the age of 65 who engaged in both types of exercise had a 30% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who only did cardio. This is especially important, as heart disease is more common among older adults.
These findings have important implications for public health and exercise guidelines. In the Netherlands, as in many other countries, the focus of exercise recommendations has traditionally been on cardio exercise, such as walking, jogging, and cycling. However, this study suggests that adding strength training to the mix could provide significant benefits for heart health.
Dr. Bakker suggests that public health guidelines should be updated to reflect the importance of incorporating strength training into regular exercise routines. “We need to emphasize the importance of not only doing cardio exercise, but also including strength training in our daily routines for heart health. This is particularly important for older adults, who are at higher risk of developing heart disease.”
The findings of this study are consistent with previous research that has shown the benefits of strength training for heart health. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that men who engaged in regular strength training had a 23% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who did not.
In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, strength training has other important health benefits. It can help to improve muscle mass and strength, which can in turn help to prevent falls and fractures in older adults. It can also help to maintain a healthy weight, as muscle mass burns more calories than fat. This is particularly important for preventing obesity, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Strength training can also help to improve overall fitness and quality of life. It can increase energy levels, improve mood, and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. It can also help to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of insomnia.
In light of these findings, it is clear that adding strength training to regular exercise routines can have significant benefits for heart health, particularly for older adults. Public health guidelines should be updated to reflect the importance of strength training, and individuals should be encouraged to incorporate it into their daily routines.
In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that strength training can play a crucial role in reducing the risk of heart disease. By combining strength training with cardio exercise, Dutch adults can significantly improve their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of developing heart disease. This is an important message for public health officials, fitness professionals, and individuals alike. It is time to recognize the importance of strength training for heart health and to incorporate it into regular exercise routines.