Study: Resistance Exercise Good for the Heart

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, performing resistance, or weight-bearing exercises, can help your heart health.

Media Downloads

CCNS health and medical content is consumer-friendly, professional broadcast quality (available in HD), and available to media outlets each day.

*Email us for video download password Content is property of Cleveland Clinic and for news media use only.

Media Contact

We're available to shoot custom interviews & b-roll for media outlets upon request.

CLEVELAND – 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 Luke Laffin, M.D., 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.

Dr. 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.

Dr. Laffin said it’s important to remember that aerobic exercise, such as walking a 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.

For Journalists Only

Sign up below to be added to our Daily Health Stories distribution list.

For more information on medical conditions and diseases, visit our Health Library.