American Heart Month: How Strength Training Can Improve Your Heart Health

American Heart Month: How Strength Training Can Improve Your Heart Health

Posted by Sydney Bollinger on

When it comes to overall health, nothing is more important than caring for your heart. Strength training is more accessible to people of all body types because it is low impact and can be completed by people at all fitness levels.

The Benefits of Strength Training for Heart Health:

Reduce blood pressure

Improve cholesterol levels

Increase insulin sensitivity

Reduce inflammation

When it comes to overall health, nothing is more important than caring for your heart. The heart is one of the most powerful organs in the body and its functions are essential to everyday life. When we take care of our hearts, we increase the quality — and longevity — of our life. 

To reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular complications, we can incorporate a good diet and exercise into our everyday routines. Regular exercise has proven to be helpful in improving heart health

While some people turn to cardio exercises like running or cycling, strength training provides the same benefits and often is low impact and more accessible to people of all body types. 

What is Strength Training? 

If you aren’t familiar with strength training, you have nothing to fear! One of the great things about this form of exercise is that you can start, no matter what your fitness level is. With strength training you will lift weights or use resistance to build muscle mass

This can be accomplished using free weights (like dumbbells) or weight machines that you might find at a gym. If you are just starting out, you might try bodyweight exercises to build up your strength before increasing to weights. 

The Benefits of Strength Training for Heart Health

Strength training has many benefits for heart health. Whether you are dealing with a specific health issue or just want to prevent future cardiovascular disease, there are plenty of benefits to resistance training. 

Reduce blood pressure

You may have heard that strength training raises blood pressure, which can be a cause of concern for people struggling with high blood pressure. However, the increased blood pressure that comes from strength training is only temporary. 

Since weight training improves your overall fitness, it actually reduces your blood pressure over a longer period of time. By staying consistent with exercise, you can enjoy the long-term effects of a healthier heart. 

Improve cholesterol levels 

If you’re familiar with heart health, you’ve likely heard folks talk about cholesterol before or seen foods labeled heart healthy because they contain low amounts of cholesterol. It is a myth that cholesterol is completely bad, though, because the waxy substance is required for your body to build cells. 

However, having high cholesterol can negatively impact your heart health. If you start a strength training regime, you may not need to worry about your cholesterol anymore. 

Strength training increases the body’s levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). This important protein takes cholesterol to the liver so it can be processed and released from the body. This process also helps remove “extra” cholesterol in your bloodstream if you have too much. 

Improving cholesterol levels will have a huge impact on your overall health and wellness. 

Increase insulin sensitivity

According to a 2020 study, strength training is known to increase insulin sensitivity. A high insulin sensitivity means that your body can use blood glucose more effectively. This helps control the level of sugar in your blood. 

In the study, there was a significant difference in insulin sensitivity between men who had a regular strength training routine and men who did not. 

This is also important because it shows the importance of having a consistent routine. Just doing one session of strength training won’t make a huge difference in your overall insulin sensitivity. However, a lifestyle change with an effective, appropriate strength training plan can increase your insulin sensitivity and thus, improve your heart health. 

Reduce inflammation

Inflammation has a huge effect on the body. Chronic inflammation, especially, can cause long term damage to cells, tissues, and organs. This happens because the body sends out continual signals that there is inflammation in the body that needs to be dealt with. Fat cells also release these signals that can increase inflammation. 

Inflammation also impacts your heart. Constant inflammation over a long period of time can irritate your blood vessels. This can have a “snowball effect” on your heart health because, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, inflammation may cause plaques to grow and can trigger blood clots. 

Strength training helps reduce inflammation by reducing fat cells. When you focus on resistance and weights, you begin to build muscle mass. As that happens, your body loses fat and so your inflammation will decrease overtime. 

Get Started with Strength Training

If you’re ready to get started with strength training, you should first assess your own fitness level. Doing too much too soon can have adverse effects on your health and potentially lead to injury. Additionally, if you have any health conditions that impact your ability to exercise, talking to a doctor about your fitness goals may be beneficial. 

Starting with strength training looks different for each person. Whatever you do, be sure to follow the guidance of a trainer or tutorials to achieve proper form during your workouts. Bodyweight exercises and the use of resistance bands are great first steps for strength training. 

As you progress, consider using weight machines. Many have safety features in place and are easy to use individually. If you are interested in working out with weights, be sure to find a workout partner who can spot you with heavy lifts. 

If you’re still unsure of where to start, consider hiring a trainer or coach who can create a specialized plan in alignment with your goals to improve your heart health. These are people who will be familiar with the best exercises for you and your lifestyle. 

Track Your Strength Training Progress 

Once you’ve started, you will definitely want to begin tracking your progress to see how far you’ve come. ZOZOFIT is the best fitness tracking option for people involved in strength training. Using 3D body scanning technology, the ZOZOFIT app produces accurate body measurements. This will allow you to easily see your muscle gains and body fat percentage reduction. 

ZOZOFIT now offers equipment-free scanning which makes using the app even easier. All you need is your iPhone and either a one month or three month subscription and you can scan anytime, anywhere. You'll even receive a free 7 day trial before your subscription begins.

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