There’s a lot of focus on aerobic activity for weight loss and improving the function of the heart. As there should be a lot of focus on it, because it’s very beneficial to heart health. But weight training also has benefits for the heart that occur indirectly.
Weight training helps to increase the size of your skeletal muscles. When you increase the muscle tissue in your body, you naturally speed up your metabolism. That’s because muscle tissue burns a lot of energy in order to sustain itself. Translated what means for you is that you burn calories more efficiently.
And, if you’re trying to reduce the amount of body fat you have, having a strong underlying set of muscles is the fastest way to do that. You can actually change your resting metabolism and burn more calories while you’re at rest. That translates into more efficient weight loss.
Now this is important because having excess weight is a major risk factor when it comes to heart disease and stroke. By participating in an exercise program that includes weight training, you can actually help to improve your cardiac risk factors and reduce your chances of having a heart attack or other heart disease.
Weight training can also help to reduce your risk of diabetes because it helps the insulin in your blood to work properly. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the fewer problems you’ll have with keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Diabetes is a major coronary risk factor; so keeping it at bay is heart healthy.
Weight training also helps to increase your physical strength as well as your bone density. That translates into an easier time performing exercises that are cardiovascular in nature.
When you have strong muscles and bones, you’re better able to go for a brisk walk every day to get your heart pumping. You’ll also have fewer injuries that prevent you from getting daily exercise.
In addition, strength training helps you to perform the tasks of daily life without as much difficulty. For example, you’ll be able to pick up your laundry basket more easily and take out the trash without straining. These may seem like small tasks, but for someone with heart disease they can be major.
Weight training should be moderate and guided by someone who knows how to help you best. People who have some serious heart complications may not be able to perform strength training safely. Make sure to talk with your doctor about starting a physical fitness program that includes strength training.