If you’re managing to stick with your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym more often, it may be time to add some weight training to your workout regimen.
According to a recent study, adding resistance or weight-bearing exercises to your workout routine can help your heart health.
The study looked at data on 12,591 people with an average age of 47.
They found that those who did anywhere from one to three days of resistance exercises per week had anywhere from a 40-70 percent decreased risk for a heart-related event.
Even people who only performed one hour per week of resistance, or weight-bearing exercises, saw a benefit.
According to Dr. Luke Laffin, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study, the results back up recent physical activity guidelines that recommend resistance training as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
“Most people know about the recommended 150-300 of moderate intensity exercise minutes a week, but now, we know that it’s also recommended to do two sessions a week of strength training or resistance training, and really that backs up what this study says,” he said.
Laffin said the study results don’t mean that everyone should run out to the bench press right away.
He recommends starting slow with light weights or resistance bands and getting the help of a personal trainer if you’re not sure where to begin.
Laffin said it’s important to remember that aerobic exercise, such as walking on a treadmill, is still very important for heart health, but that it’s good to also add some resistance exercises, because keeping up a variety of exercise types helps condition the heart muscle in different ways.
“It’s great if people are getting on the treadmill, or elliptical and are doing that half an hour, but do try and throw in -- it doesn’t have to be a lot; it can be less than an hour a week -- some type of weight lifting, or resistance training, it can be very helpful,” he said.
Complete results of the study can be found in Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise.